Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects

The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects

Spring 2015 Poetry
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Author: Paul Janeczko
Illustrator: Chris Raschka
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763669638
Hardcover Price: $17.99

An evocative poem by Billy Collins (Poet Laureate of the U.S., 2001-2003), inspired the title of this unusual and substantive collection that is not for children only, despite the recommended age range. Casting a wide net among poets of the Middle Ages up to the present, anthologist Paul B. Janeczko has grouped together an eclectic series of poems shaped around objects: John Donne's "A Burnt Ship," for instance; "A Red, Red Rose" (Robert Burns), Wordsworth's daffodils ("I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud"), Langston Hughes' "Stars," "A Just-Finishing Candle" by Rumi, and Pablo Neruda's "Ode to a Stamp Album." Each turn of the page offers a revelation of words and between-the-lines meaning, interpreted visually through Caldecott award-winning artist Chris Raschka's decorative watercolor and ink illustrations.

Nota beneKeep an eye out for Raschka's reappearing image of a little goose. After its introduction in the poem "A Solitary Wildgoose," by 9th century Chinese poet Cui, it migrates through the pages, searching for its flock.

Lynne Heffley   ©2015 Parents' Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper's first weekly children's arts and entertainment beat.

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