Cover image for Knock on wood : poems about superstitions
Knock on wood : poems about superstitions
Wong, Janet S.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
33 pages : color illustrations ; 28 cm
A collection of seventeen original poems about superstitions, including walking under a ladder, breaking a mirror, and knocking on wood. Includes notes about the superstitions.
Cat -- Clover -- Ears -- Garlic -- Hair -- Hat -- Horseshoe -- Key -- Ladder -- Ladybug -- Mirror -- Potatoes -- Rooster -- Salt -- Thirteen -- Umbrellas -- Wood.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.6 0.5 74044.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3573.O578 K58 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS3573.O578 K58 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



What superstitions do you follow?
In this collection of original poems, accomplished poet Janet S. Wong explores seventeen superstitions, some common, others that are less known, and delves into their origins as well as their lore. Rich, full-color illustrations by Julie Paschkis enhance each poem.
The result from this award-winning team is sure to intrigue young readers and make them think again about things they often do, like opening an umbrella, walking under a ladder, or putting on a hat!

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2-5. The creators of Night Garden (2000) offer another beautifully illustrated collection of poetry, this time celebrating the rituals and beliefs that make up superstitions. Children will easily recognize many of the poems' subjects: black cats, vampires and garlic, fear of ladders. But some notions are more unusual: putting potatoes in a pocket to cure arthritis. A few poems are uneven, with forced rhymes or obscure meaning: Stand bareheaded in the rain / to cure a baldness in the brain, for example. But children will find the subjects compelling, and many of the poems have a sly humor and haunting, lyrical imagery. Paschkis' watercolors are exceptional. Wild patterns that mimic folk-art designs explode from the spreads with whimsical images that children will want to view over and over again. Filled with mystery, magic, and hidden worlds, these are poems to liven up language arts classes and to spark discussions about personal beliefs. Brief prose explanations about the superstitions close the book. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

The team behind Night Garden pair up again for Knock on Wood: Poems About Superstitions by Janet S. Wong, illus. by Julie Paschkis. A few poems may require reading the explanation of the superstition first, but the best dig into the spirit of the superstitions, as in "Umbrellas": "The ghost of my grandfather came by for an apple/ and a cup of coffee, once./ If I knew he would come to visit again,/ I would open both our umbrellas now and wait-/ and we would walk in this rain." The real star is Paschkis's illustrations, which conjure a dreamlike world. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-5-Itchy ears, broken mirrors, and hats worn backward join wood spirits, ghosts, and of course black cats in this imaginative exploration of common and lesser-known superstitions. The shapely poems are infused with fey intimations in keeping with the collection's theme: "It is said/salt is magic. The pure kind, sea crystals./Spilled salt is magic flung wild." Some selections are haunting, and some humorous, as in this glimpse of a vampire's downfall: "All you bloodsuckers,/this is your last chance:/I am one bite/away-/from a hunk/of Mother's famous garlic chunk chicken." Paschkis creates an exquisite backdrop for the verses. Presented on a panoramic spread, each poem and facing watercolor scene have matching frames, anchoring them as reflections of one another. Some of the borders are abstract designs, but others are suggestive of elements in the verses. For example, "Potatoes" is contained inside a lumpy oval. Adept at both storytelling and design, the illustrator places the text and picture blocks against a wonderful montage of images in tones of a single color. Children of varied ethnicities and time periods are cast in fanciful folk-art scenes. Humor, satire, subplots, historic references, and decorative and surreal elements abound in artful profusion. There is much to ponder in both words and pictures. Some of the children depicted suggest a young audience, but the mixed poetic/visual brew is sophisticated. The author includes brief comments about the featured superstitions and a note reflecting on her personal experience in this area.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Catp. 1
Cloverp. 3
Earsp. 5
Garlicp. 7
Hairp. 9
Hatp. 11
Horseshoep. 13
Keyp. 15
Ladderp. 17
Ladybugp. 19
Mirrorp. 21
Potatoesp. 23
Roosterp. 25
Saltp. 27
Thirteenp. 29
Umbrellasp. 31
Woodp. 33
About the Superstitionsp. 34
Author's Notep. 36