I was so happy to get my hands on Keep a Pocket in Your Poem , (2017, Wordsong) written and selected by J.Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Johanna Wright. And I’m even more excited to keep this book on my shelf!
In this great collection, Lewis parodies thirteen of his favorite poems. He introduces kids to canonical poets while also showing them that words are meant to be played with, that poets quite literally – to go back to the word poet‘s etymology – are makers.
Serious pieces are turned humorous, as with Lewis’s “Stopping by Fridge on a Hungry Evening,” a response to Frost’s “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.” He also does the opposite when he refashions Dickinson’s “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers” to “Grief is the thing with tissues.”
I cannot not talk about Wright’s stunning illustrations. Even without the words, this book could stand alone with her frame-worthy compositions. The vibrant colors jump out at readers as Wright brings the poems alive. Kids of all backgrounds exist within the pages. I LOVE that all little poets can see themselves in the pages of this poetry collection.
Although the book is intended for younger readers, I would be comfortable using this in any grade level, K-12, because of its ability to inspire those student writers who may feel overwhelmed with poetry. I would also offer this book as a mentor text for students’ own poetry collections.
Keep a Pocket in Your Poem is a book I will definitely share with my children’s literature students in the fall!