Pickle Words: Crunchy, Punchy Pickles and Poetry

Charlesbridge. Jul. 2024. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781623543624.
K-Gr 2–Through simple, crisp rhymes, Sayre’s collection of pickle poems introduces children to the joys of traditional types of fermented vegetables across cultures. While the poems are not particularly varied in style (four lines, all in an A/B/A/B rhyme scheme), the vocabulary is perfect for early readers to practice on their own, and the rhythms are a pleasure to digest. Adjectives integrated into Sun’s bright, vibrant illustrations also encourage readers to start considering how they, too, can describe the world around them with zest. Poem after poem in the same style on roughly the same subject matter can stretch a little thin if powering through in a single reading; however, the pages are sprinkled with additions that add some spice. Readers will find definitions; descriptions of many types of pickles, chutneys, and relishes from around the world; and, appropriately, a few recipes for making pickles. A small bibliography of pickle books leaves plenty more to discover. Sayre’s note about what inspired her to write the book is intensely sweet and is a posthumous reminder of how much she contributed to the children’s literature community. She fed her readers well on flavorful words, and she will be missed.
VERDICT Those keen on finding poetry for emerging readers will find this book a satisfying dish.

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