Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Poetry Update

I’ve three books of poetry to recommend, starting with—

Dear Hot Dog by Mordicai Gerstein (811 GeD 2011 PIC BK).  The subtitle pretty much tells you what this collection is about, Poems About Everyday Stuff.  And it really is.  Starting with morning stuff: toothbrush, pants, toes, socks, etc., then moving on to 'stuff with which you do other stuff' on a summer day like kites, air, water, sun, rain, scissors, hot dogs, or an ice-cream cone, and finishing off with stuff needed to end a day, like spaghetti, bear (as in teddy), light and pillow.  These are light, playful odes to common objects which young children, or those of us with youthful spirits, can relate to. (See Toes, “we’ve become strangers this winter. I almost never see you... Or Ice-Cream Cone, “…I turn you and lick you, and with every lick there’s less of you. Come back!...).  The illustrations are a perfect fit with the breezy tone.

Next up is Cousins of Clouds: elephant poems by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer (811 ZiC 2011 PIC BK).  This is a most intriguing collection of poems and bites of information that epitomize the qualities of elephants. Learn about the differences between African and Asian elephants (head, ears, trunk, size), parenting, communication, folklore, and life in captivity as a working elephant or a rescued one. It’s an enjoyable way to read about elephants.  The illustrations, mixed-media collages, contribute to the eclectic feel of the book which is also pleasing.  Recommended for grades 1-6.

And, lastly, I’m recommending The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound: a birder’s journal by Sallie Wolf (811 WoR 2011).  I think this is a collection that will work with various ages but feel that older readers will appreciate it more.  Organized by season, Sallie Wolf has taken entries from her journals, recording observations about birds as they court and build nests in spring, feed fledglings, bathe and preen in summer, and prepare for and live through cold winters. In addition to the poems, she includes lists of birds she sees each season, some of her notes, and small, roughly sketched drawings that capture the shape, colour or movement of the birds.  We see her as a birdwatcher, observer of nature, poet, journal writer and artist.  A great deal of the charm of the book is in its design. It mixes lots of white space with the seemingly simple drawings or watercolours, short, boxed poems and longer ones that look as if they’ve been taped into the journal.  A beautiful little book.


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