________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 34. . . .May 6, 2016


Alpha Bones Candy : ABC Tanka Poetry for Tots.

Lp Camozzi. Illustrated by Zach Camozzi.
Montreal, PQ: Lp Creative, 2016.
64 pp., trade pbk., $14.95.
ISBN 978-0-9737367-2-4.

Subject Headings:
English language-Alphabet-Juvenile poetry.
Alphabet books.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

** /4


internal artLp Camozzi and illustrator Zach Camozzi, who is the author’s son, have self-published this alphabet picture book of tanka poems. “A tanka is a [stylized] Japanese poem which can also be known as a waka or uta. A tanka poem is similar to a haiku but has two additional lines” (*https://www.youngwriters.co.uk/types-tanka-poem) and is meant to give a complete picture of an event or mood.

internal art     For example:

still tell

     is the tanka for the letter ‘B’, accompanied by a picture of paleontologists at a dig;

     and for the letter ‘W’:

ever under

     Each picture includes other objects beginning with the letter in the first word of the poem, and readers are invited to identify them. (“Can you find? Boots, Banana, Bats, Bucket, Brush.”)

     The author, who has had other tanka poetry published, is also the author of Spice Kapita, That Dancin’ Guy and Pasta Pazoo. Here he has taken a simple idea and engaged in some clever wordplay that manages to successfully evoke an image for the word chosen to represent each alphabet letter. The illustrations are more workmanlike than polished, but they contain a fair measure of humour. They are presented as black-and-white line drawings on a single page facing the text. In fact, the accompanying press release suggests that the book could be used as a colouring book, which is what the design is reminiscent of.

     Alpha Bones Candy would be a useful as an alphabet-cum-puzzle book for younger children, or as an introduction to the tanka poetic form for older primary students.

     Recommended for larger library collections.


Ellen Heaney is a retired children’s librarian living in Coquitlam, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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