Foreword Reviews

Take a Hike!

Poems for Intermediate Readers (Grades 3-5), Volume 2

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Take a Hike! contains engaging and educational poems that deliver appealing lessons about language.

Brett Fleishman’s Take a Hike! is an age-appropriate compilation of humorous poems that build off of puns and idioms to entertain intermediate readers in grades 3-5.

The introduction explains the ideas of puns and idioms, and an explanation section at the end assists with individual puns and idioms based on language knowledge the audience may not have already possessed. The poems describe, for instance, a light bulb that isn’t very smart (literally, a not-so-bright light bulb) and a conflict between a yak and a dromedary that ends up with a straw breaking the camel’s back. Each poem resolves with a well-labeled idiom or pun that refers the reader to the reference section at the back. These poems are followed by a collection of student poetry—winners of the author’s competition for students in classes he visited.

The poems are amusing, both at their grade level and for adults. The wordplay that is the hallmark of the collection is accompanied by a fairly standard, singsong-style rhyme scheme that may encourage children to try their own poetry by playing with rhyming words. The poems are gender-neutral, with topics that will appeal to both boys and girls.  The explanations at the back of the book ensure that any poem that falls flat for a child will still create a learning opportunity related to language.

Visually, the poems are an appealing length, usually half of a page to a little over a page, and the rhymed couplets used in many of the poems allow for plenty of white space. A few of the sections have word games that children can work out like in a workbook, making the book interactive. While some of the poems have odd subjects, like the body parts for sale in a poem that references “costing an arm and a leg,” all are rendered in such cartoonish detail that they remain quite appropriate for their age group. In a variety of cases, the brightly colored illustrations make the poem’s point more clear.

The section at the back of the book that addresses puns, homonyms (the core of many puns), and idioms makes the book more educational, and the student’s winning poems are well-selected; they are strong and are accompanied by their own illustrations, and are an inspiring way to conclude the volume.

Take a Hike! contains engaging and educational poems that deliver appealing lessons about language.

Reviewed by Laura Leavitt

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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