Lewis, J. Patrick. Please Bury Me in the Library. Illus. Kyle M. Stone. Orlando: Gulliver Books, 2005.
J. Patrick Lewis’s Please Bury Me in the Library is a topical collection of poetry, centering on books and the libraries that house them. His collection provides a variety of poetic styles, including haikus, acrostic poems, and free verse.
The rhythms of his poems are playful and complement the humorous, lighthearted nature of the content. For example, the opening poem “What If Books Had Different Names?” provokes laughter with such adapted titles as “Winnie-the-Pooh Pooh-Poohs/The Walrus and the Carp and Her… Or Mary Had a Little Clam,” which are amusing to adults as well as children. Lewis utilizes rhyme to create the rhythms and merriness of his poems; however, the rhymes do not feel forced but occur as needed. Lewis incorporates some sound techniques such as alliteration, for example “blinking back the/wee wonder,” but these devices are used with discretion and are not overpowering. Lewis’s use of figurative language evokes the sweet innocence of childhood. In his poem “Please Bury Me in the Library,” he exploits personification and word play; the “Kids’ books dance”, the “Dictionary dozes”, there are “long-stemmed proses”, and “Bookworms in [his] coffin” (12). As a collection, Please Bury Me in the Library creates fantastical and inventive imagery, such as letters swimming in “Eating Alphabet Soup” (8). Books are lauded as being worth dying with, and they surpass generations in “A Classic” (12-14). This anthology promotes reading, books, and the library by showing the pleasurable and amusing aspects of each entity. The reader feels captivated by the magic of books through the reading of this one.
The design of Please Bury Me in the Library is as captivating as its poems. Each poem is accompanied by an illustration by Kyle M. Stone. In some cases, the poem resides on a blank page, facing an illustration, and in other cases, the poem exists within the art. Stone’s artwork is whimsical and complements Lewis’s poems perfectly. The first illustration, in particular, is captivating. The painterly fashion of the brushstrokes, and the juxtaposition of the white and pink lamb and the bright green eggs and blue wall are enchanting. In all cases, the colors are rich and the brushstrokes add a touch of liveliness to his art. The art is mesmerizing enough that it could stand on its own; the illustrations create their own quirky tales, augmenting Lewis’s poetry.
"Please Bury Me In The Library." Library Media Connection 24.4 (2006): 84. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts with Full Text. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.
"Although this beautifully illustrated picture book of clever poems is primarily for young children, it will tickle the fancy of most book lovers."
Lempke, Susan Dove. "Please Bury Me In The Library." Horn Book Magazine 81.4 (2005): 483. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts with Full Text. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.
"Fifteen poems in many forms extol the wonders of reading, books, and words."
"Please Bury Me In The Library." Kirkus Reviews 73.7 (2005): 420. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts with Full Text. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.
"Finishing with 'Acknowledgements' to 'Shel and Jack and Myra Cohn,' plus other 'word wizards,' this offering from the prolific Lewis won't stay buried long, no matter where it's planted."
This collection could be read in conjunction with other topical anthologies on the same subject, such as BookSpeak!
Students could create their own topical anthologies on a subject of their choosing.
Students could write their own poem that could fit within the context of this book.