Janeczko, Paul B., and Christopher Raschka. 2009. A foot in the mouth: poems to speak, sing, and shout. Somerville, Mass: Candlewick Press. ISBN# 9780763606633.
A Foot in the Mouth is a great poetry book for children to learn about the many sounds of poetry. Many of the poems in this book are great for students to read out loud and enjoy. Janeczko compiles a group of poems that introduces humor and play-on words that children will enjoy.
This book is grouped into different types of performance poetry. These include “Poems for One Voice”, “Tongue Twisters”, “Poems for Two Voices”, “List Poems”, and “Poems for Three Voices”, “Short Poems”, “Bilingual Poems”, “Rhymed Poems”, “Limericks”, and “Group Poems”.
A Foot in the Mouth also displays a great array of poets from Georgia Heard to Walt Whitman to William Shakespeare. What is great about this poetry book is that there are so many types of poetry and poets to introduce.
This poetry book is also beneficial because it will invite children to become more vocal. The poetry is exciting and fun for students to learn from. A Foot in the Mouth illustrates poetry with great rhymes and beats that will encourage students to participate.
Poem: “Anna Elise”
The surprise was so quick, it played her a trick;
The trick was so rare, she jumped in a chair;
The chair was so frail, she jumped in a pail;
The pail was so wet, she jumped in a net;
The net was so small, she jumped on the ball;
The ball was so round, she jumped on the ground;
And ever since then she’s been turning around.
Introducing the Poem:
“Anna Elise” has a repetitious beat that continues to grow faster as you are reading it. This is a great poem because it has that element of ‘what will happen next?’ that children adore. In addition, it has fun rhymes and repeating words that add to its charm.
I would introduce this poem by first reading it to the class enthusiastically. At the beginning of the poem I would start slowly and read faster until the end of the poem. Once I reach the last line and I read it slowly like the first. This gives a fun nature to the poem.
Next, I would get a volunteer to read the poem. Furthermore, I would see if they would like to read it out loud differently that how I did. Because there is some rhyming in the middle on each line, the poem could be broken up more. Children may want to experiment with different ways of reciting “Anne Elise”. Students might like to recite it like a rap song.
A Foot in the Mouth has many other poems that can be introduced to students. This is a great book to introduce poetry to children because of its exciting factor. The poems are fun and children will be drawn to them.