The Illustrated Edgar ­Allan Poe: 25 Essential Poems

Moonshower. (The Illustrated Poets Collection: Bk. 3). Apr. 2023. 64p. ed. by Van Cleave, Ryan G. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781638191469.
Gr 6 Up–This title is third in a series of illustrated books that encourage readers to enjoy, engage, and experience poetry. Organized into three parts—“Love and Longing,” “The Great Beyond,” and “The World Fantastic”—each poem is accompanied by a study guide divided into the three areas of “Engage,” “Imagine,” and “Define,” with nonverbal icons representing these concepts. Vocabulary words in bold are defined adjacent to the text. Study questions reference biographical and historical context; narrative form; and poetic devices, such as symbolism, metaphor, rhyme, repetition, rhythm, meter, allusion, and mood. The selected works include well-known and lesser-known titles and challenge the notion that all of Poe’s poems are macabre or gothic, although many are characteristically melancholic. Famous works like “The Raven,” “Annabel Lee,” and “Lenore” are combined with obscure titles that may surprise and excite readers. The marginalia is gracefully integrated into the overall design, with colorful full-page collages that emphasize the narrative. Decorative endpapers and foliate borders connect the visual concepts, leaving no white space, but do not detract from or obscure the text. The charming illustrations effectively capture a Victorian aesthetic and the essence of Poe’s verse, evoking concepts of beauty, death, love, and loss. Profuse back matter includes fun facts and commentary, a bibliography, and suggested reading, although a pronunciation guide is not included. With appealing design, engaging text, and extra material for classroom use, this book would please readers of all ages who enjoy the works of Edgar Allan Poe.
VERDICT A welcome addition to school and public libraries.

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