Title: The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems
Editor/Compiler: Paul B. Janeczko
Illustrator: Richard Jones
Genre: Children’s, Poetry
Book format: Hardcover
Sweet Strawberries: Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet Strawberry

Description: Find a patch of unbroken snow, dye your hair green with purple spots, bounce in your space-boots…and don’t take off your helmet whatever you do!  A “how-to” poem shows the steps in process – here are over 30 charming examples, from poets around the world and through history.

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is a lovely collection of random poems, all of them very different from each other. ‘The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems’ is a hardback book with a matt outer cover. It is a little bigger than A4 in size and is filled with text and lots of lovely, colourful illustrations on thick matt pages. The hardback cover actually looks extra special due to the copper coloured shiny title and the beautiful pattern along the spine.

The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog cover detail
©The Strawberry Post

Inside the book there are double page speads, or single pages of poems, each accompanied with some kind of illustration swhich often change the colour of the page itself. The poems are all very different and rather than this book being a collection by one author, this is a compiled selection from various poets, both modern and from the past, including one poem by Robert Louis Stevenson! Every poem is on a different subject with all of them being very random and no real connection to any of them. ‘The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog’ is one of the poems inside the book and is one of many that rhyme, while there are others that don’t.

The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

I’m not sure what to think of this random collection. All of the poems are fun to read, with some being far more engaging and interesting than others. Most of them are very short, some only lasting a few lines, but all of them feel fun to read and many have a good pace and no complicated words that would confuse kids. Although I said this is random selection, the poems do feature a ‘how-to’ theme of sorts, although some of the poems don’t really feel like they do this so much, such as ‘Fireworks’. I have to say, some of the poems I really enjoyed and these were often the more rhyming kind (I love reading rhyming poetry!) but there were plenty of really good ones and I couldn’t help but smile at the very last poem which has a short but to the point message.

The illlustrations are beautiful and so fun. They look like a mixture of block printing and paints that have been sometimes collaged onto each other but most of the time it just looks like fun paints, with no black outlines and this makes the nature in many of the images feel more real and alive. I love how cute and fun many of the pages look (including that hedgehog!) and there is a surprising amount of detail in many of the illustrations which I enjoyed. This also made it more fun to read some of the poems such as one called ‘How to Make a Meal’ which has some funny instructions and an even funnier picture to go with it! Every poem’s writer is credited on each page, uder the poem, which is a nice additional touch too.

The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

Although many of the poems were really good and I do like the feel of many of them, at times it felt just too random and a few of the poems just didn’t feel so fun to read. Having said that though I found some of them very interesting, like the poem explaining the simple way to tell apart a Dromedary camel from a Bactrian, and the poem explaining some sign language in such a simple way. Overall I do think it’s a lovely collection for kids to read, maybe along with adults who can make sense of some of the poems and explain them to kids, although I’d warn that it is a bit random and I’m not sure kids will ‘get’ or enjoy every simgle poem.

Do you like poetry?  What do you think of this book?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂