Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles
by Douglas Florian
Florian, Douglas. Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles. New York: Penguin Group, 2014. Print.
Poetic Elements: While there are several poetic elements throughout this book, I am not sure of how successful I believe them to be. As someone who is not normally a fan of poetry and often struggles with it, this is the exact kind of poetry book that I struggle with. There is no story that follows throughout the book. Instead, it is just page after page of assorted poems. They are fun and interesting, sure, but I am not sure that I actually get anything from them. When I read, I enjoy getting a message or learning something new, and I did not feel like that after reading through this book. Instead, it reminded me of why I had no favorite poets when I was a child.
Overall, there is a great deal of rhyme throughout the book, and it does change often due to the page and poem that is being written. No two poems in the book are exactly alike, which is pretty incredible when you realize how many poems are included, and that they are all written by the same poet about different topics. That takes a lot of talent, and I can certainly respect and appreciate that. While there was a bit of figurative language throughout the pages, I did feel that an emotional impact was mostly missing. I could not tell that these poems were written for any purpose other than to entertain, and perhaps make the reader laugh. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this purpose when it comes to children's poetry, it is just not what I personally enjoy reading at this point in my life.
Appeal: Overall, I do believe that this book contains the kind of poetry that will interest and engage young readers. The poems are short, and they are often about topics that they can relate to or make connections about, which is great for young readers as they are beginning to read and understand poetry and it's elements. The fact that there is so much rhyme and structure will also appeal to young readers as they can more easily read the text. They can focus more on what is being said, and less on how it is written or expressed. While the poems may not pull at the reader's emotions, it will certainly cause the reader to use and expand their imagination, which is incredibly important as well.
Overall Quality: Again, I am not sure I am the best person to discuss the overall quality of this particular book because it is not the type of poetry that really interests me. However, even though I do not like this book, I can certainly appreciate the writing and structure, and how young adults will really enjoy the text. The poems are all quite good, and discuss different topics that are relevant to children. The ones that rhyme do so well, and the ones that do not are still just as entertaining to read. Overall, the poems to complete the purpose of the text, which is to entertain the reader.
The Poets: Douglas Florian is the poet and illustrator for this entire book, which I do think is very impressive. I cannot imagine thinking of so many different topics to include in a book, and then successfully writing a poem about all of those topics; poems that make sense on top of that! Florian does a wonderful job of doing this, though. It would be quite easy to believe that multiple poets wrote these poems because some of them are so different, and that does seem to be a positive quality for a poet to achieve. For the most part, I do not believe that these poems pull on too many emotions, though maybe it will be different for younger readers, or those who feel more connected to the book than I did.
Layout: The layout of this book is one of the most exciting things about it, in my opinion. I was excited to open the book and see a wide variety of illustrations to go along with the poems. While I may not have been the biggest fan of the poems, I did appreciate how each had its own black-and-white illustration that better helped me imagine what was being talked about in the text. The book includes a table of contents, were the books is divided into "aisles" which follows along with the title of the text, making it a cute addition. It seems like a positive to have shorter poems, and often more than one to a page as I do believe this size will make it less intimidating for students to pick up the book and attempt to move through it, especially once they realize there are illustrations, and how quickly the poetry reads.
I want more jokes.
I want more fun.
I want more candy
By the ton.
I want more laughs.
I want more smiles.
I want more cookies,
Piles and piles.
I want more games.
I want more friends.
I want my more
To never end.
With this particular poem, I believe it would be beneficial to discuss the overall format and the rhyme scheme, especially as an introductory lesson into poetry. Rhyme scheme can be difficult for students to learn and determine, and this poem would be a great example to do together. After determining the rhyme scheme, I would have students write their own poem based on this scheme, allowing them to choose things they want "more" of.