Reviews for Arrow Finds Its Mark : A Book of Found Poems

Booklist Reviews 2012 April #1
Found poems are sets of words written as prose for applications such as signs, ads, books, lists, letters, text messages, and tweets. "Found" by poets, the selections are minimally crafted (or left unchanged) and presented as poetry. This short, illustrated anthology opens with a useful introduction to the concept, the particular poems collected there, and the guidelines used in creating them. Varied and often vivid, the verse ranges from "How to Write a Poem on Your Computer," mined from drop-down menus by Bob Raczka, to Juanita Havill's "Hummingbird," found in a gardening catalog. In "Marilynn's Montessori Memo," George Ella Lyon shares an oddly moving teacher's note about a plastic model of the human body, while J. Patrick Lewis offers the entertaining "Nicknames in the NBA," found in a basketball encyclopedia. As editor Heard notes, readers will find poetry everywhere if they "look at the world with poet's eyes." Illustrated with black-and-white drawings, this intriguing little book offers an appealingly down-to-earth entryway into poetry. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

BookPage Reviews 2012 April
Poetry springs up everywhere

Every year I look forward to the spring crop of children’s poetry books, which always brings a bouquet of creativity. This year is no exception.


The Arrow Finds Its Mark: A Book of Found Poems, illustrated by Antoine Guilloppv©, is a fascinating collection sure to captivate young and old alike. Just leave this book out in plain sight and watch what happens!

What is a “found” poem, you might ask? It’s a piece of already existing text that is then “made” into a poem, as explained by editor Georgia Heard, who collected these examples. Such text might be a line from Twitter, a note found on a floor, a photo caption, a sign or graffiti.

For instance, here’s a poem called “Pep Talk” that consists of phrases from a box of OxiClean detergent:

   Keep cool.
   See a brighter solution.
   Mountain freshness.
   Boost your power!

This little book makes for fun perusing. There’s a poem created by crossword puzzle clues, another from a dictionary entry and another from the book titles on a young girl’s shelf. This is a collection guaranteed to inspire family fun or give students a new way to look at poetry.


Run, jump, blow bubbles or stomp in a puddle: That’s the refreshing theme of A Stick is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play. Prolific poet Marilyn Singer doesn’t disappoint in this celebration of classic children’s fun, which is likely to remind adults of their own experiences hosing friends with sprinklers, rolling down hills and playing hopscotch or hide and seek.

Singer captures the endearing exuberance of childhood with poems like “Really Fast”:

   Skateboard races,
   pigeon chases,
   running bases.
   Backyard dashes,
   racecar crashes,
   puddle splashes.
   Everything’s a blast
   when you do it really fast!

LeUyem Pham’s illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to these lively poems. Her colorful pages are full of smiling kids who laugh, leap and lunge. But be forewarned: This book isn’t a great choice for bedtime, because the poems will make readers want to head right out the door.

Outdoorsy kids are likely to adore a new poetry collection with the engrossing title Nasty Bugs. Children’s poetry connoisseur Lee Bennett Hopkins has collected another winning swarm of poems, with names sure to entice kids, such as “Stink Bug,” “Ode to a Dead Mosquito” and “Barbed and Dangerous.”

Will Terry’s illustrations are truly glorious, with a spread on the stink bug swirling in a fiery background of orange, red and yellow as a huge green bug leers at the reader, with fumes rising. Terry brings readers eye to eye with a litany of malevolent creatures, such as fire ants, boll weevils, lice and bedbugs.

Many mothers will (not!) appreciate the first verse of Amy Ludwig Vanderwater’s poem, “Lice”:

   Ridiculous Pediculus
   O tiny vampire louse
   You crawl from head
            to head
                 to head
   from house
           to house
                to house.

Not only are these poems fun, they also contain facts that will keep kids entertained, educated and grossed out, all at the same time. In addition, an explanatory section at the end contains a short but intriguing entry for each bug mentioned.

For more outdoor poems, dip into the exceptionally clever A Meal of the Stars: Poems Up and Down. Dana Jensen has written a series of “vertical” poems, with each line containing just one word. Some of these poems read from top to bottom, while others read from bottom to top. Kids will love this form and no doubt want to try to write their own.

Jensen writes about such upward and downward topics as giraffe necks, popping balloons, rockets blasting into space and kites soaring in the wind. Tricia Tusa’s illustrations add the perfect touch of humor, personality and motion.


When my identical twin girls were born 13 years ago, I dearly wish I’d had Take Two! A Celebration of Twins. This is a treasure chest of poems for parents, siblings and twins, sprinkled here and there with interesting facts. (Imagine, for instance, this hard-to-believe item: “In the 1700s, Mrs. Feodor Vassilyev of Shuya, Russia, had sixteen sets of twins. She also gave birth to four sets of quadruplets and seven sets of triplets!”)

Written by the dynamic children’s literature duo of J. Patrick Lewis (a twin himself) and Jane Yolen, these fun poems address many aspects of twinhood, including the novelty, fun and frustrations. Best of all, the poems are both heartfelt and humorous. Consider these lines from “What’s It Like to Be a Twin?”:

   ’Cause a twin’s a double rainbow
   Or the fork that goes with the knife.
   He may wear around the edges,
   But he’s guaranteed for life.

This is a beautifully designed book as well, with layouts pleasing to the eye and doubly adorable illustrations by Sophie Blackall. Even though my twins become teenagers this month, I’m keeping this book on our shelves for years to come.


BookSpeak!: Poems about Books is a lively, lovely literary collection. Laura Purdie Salas writes verses about things like coming to the end of a book, falling asleep while reading and an avid reader begging for a sequel. One particularly clever poem asks readers to pay attention to the indexes of books and says: “So I’m telling you, kid: / ignore the rest of the book. / All you really need is me.”

Josee Bisaillon’s illustrations are varied and wonderful, adding an extra dimension of fun and whimsy.

Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
Thirty poets, including Marilyn Singer, Kristine O'Connell George, J. Patrick Lewis, and Joyce Sidman, offer poems taken from text messages, basketball nicknames, bird calls, book titles, and other sources. The collection broadly illustrates what a found poem can be; an introduction explains the form. The blocky drawings work well when they're simple; some figure drawings are awkward.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 January #2
Found poems can be found right here in a small anthology of original poems. Found poems are exactly what their name implies: poems created out of words and phrases found in all sorts of places--on Facebook, in a thesaurus, in newspaper advertisements in magazines, on detergent boxes and signs in a hardware store. But, as the introduction cautions, "If you put a frame around any text and insert line breaks and stanzas--it won't necessarily be a poem." It takes vision to see the potential of poetry all around us, and then it takes magic to elevate and deepen the language. The first lines of Heard's opening poem, "Find a Poem," define the finding poet's process: "come across / chance upon / stumble on / discover / turn up / bring to light." Aimed at young readers, with an eye to helping them learn to write their own found poems, the collection will be a handy guide to an accessible form. Not so easy will be getting students to understand what makes these poetry, and a bit of elaboration in the introduction would have helped make the case. But certainly in the spirit of helping young people play with language, this will be a welcome addition to every teacher's writing toolbox. Students may not be convinced these are real poems, but they'll enjoy creating them anyway, whatever they are. (Poetry. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Media Connection Reviews 2012 May/June
Poetry, vision, and creativity are the key to the works selected and used in this innovative children's book. These insightful poets created poems from emails, blogs, twitter, face book, and dictionaries. By simply changing a line break or constructing special titles, poets used various forms of poetry from haiku to acrostic. The b&w illustrations bring life to the nontraditional poems. Each poem is accompanied by the person who found it and the source of where they found it. Poetry lovers will not be able to put this book down, just out of curiosity alone. Shiela Martina Keaise, Children's Librarian, Colleton County Memorial Library, Walterboro, South Carolina. RECOMMENDED. Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 February #4

The poems in this slender volume were mined from print and digital media, signage, personal correspondence, and other sources. Not every entry is a hit, but there are moments of brilliance, including Bob Raczka's "How to Write a Poem on Your Computer," derived from computer drop-down menus ("Find Table/ Work/ Select All/ Delete"), and Terry Webb Harshman's "Lake Haiku," found in a photo caption ("Hawk perched on a tree/ at the Randleman Lake edge.../ framed by a harvest moon"). The results, taken from Facebook updates and e-mails, crossword puzzle clues and dictionary entries, will have readers seeing inspiration all around them and questioning what turns words into poetry. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 April

Gr 3-6--The intent of this collection is to awaken readers to the poetry that "exists all around us." A host of children's poets accepted the challenge to find inspiration anywhere-a Facebook page, a hardware store, the Burpee catalog--and reassemble the words without much embellishment in pursuit of poetry. Minimally illustrated with plain black-and-white drawings, the poems rely largely on the poet's inventiveness. There is no table of contents or index of poets; however a heading for each selection gives the author and the original source. Juanita Havill, Lee Bennett Hopkins, J. Patrick Lewis, George Ella Lyon, Naomi Shihab Nye, Joyce Sidman, Jane Yolen, and Bob Raczka are among the contributors. Laura Purdie Salas creates an amusing context for words found on a road sign in Northern England, "red squirrels/drive slowly" by adding the title: "They Don't Want Speeding Tickets, So…." A sign on a hardware store is made rhythmically interesting. This unassuming book may help young writers notice words and see how poems can be made. Pair it with other books that spark an imaginative flame, such as Paul B. Janeczko's A Kick in the Head (Candlewick, 2005).--Tess Pfeifer, Springfield Renaissance School, Springfield, MA

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