Monday, November 20, 2017

(Loving) The World and Everything in It (Monday Poem)

by Marjory Wentworth

Each day I walk out
onto the damp grass
before the sun has spoken,
because I love the world
and the miracle of morning.

I love to stand beside
the old oak trees
beneath a symphony
of birdsong and listen
to every perfect note

while the wind passes
around me like a warm sea.
Sometimes a feather
drifts down into my hands;
I hold it and imagine flying.

celebrating Mary Oliver

from Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets
by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth
illustrated by Ekua Holmes
2017, Candlewick Press

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Blue Alphabet (Monday Poem)

by Marjory Wentworth

Make a paintbox out of letters;
add water and dip your brush.
Swirl it on the paper with style
while you are humming a tune,
smiling or standing still. Waiting
for the school bus, you can dazzle
your friends with the words you have
made and strung together
like beads around your neck.

celebrating Terrance Hayes

from Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets
by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth
illustrated by Ekua Holmes
2017, Candlewick Press

Thursday, November 9, 2017

We Come Together with Thanks (FAMILY magazine Reviews)

‘Tis the season to be thankful, and we have much to be grateful for as we reflect on the hurricane season and that we have limited damage compared to what was predicted. Often, when I feel grateful, I look for ways to share what I have with others and spread the gratitude as wide as I’m able. May we always have enough to share.

Thankful by Eileen Spinelli
illustrated by Archie Preston
               Spinelli’s rhyming picture book is a listing of what makes people feel grateful. In the family-centered illustrations, an imaginative brother and sister play at acting like a waitress, who “is thankful for comfortable shoes,” a firefighter, a clown, doctor, mayor, sailor – to mention a few. Additionally, an “artist is thankful for color and light” and a “mayor is thankful for every vote.”
               Preston uses pastel watercolors outlined in black ink with lots of white space to emphasize the expressions and activities of the characters. Text and paintings together celebrate the ordinary daily occasions for gratitude with a playful, quirky familiarity. This charming book can easily prompt readers to look at their own lives with thankful hearts.
Zonderkidz, $16.99
Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 3

Over the River and Through the Woods: A Holiday Adventure  
by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Kim Smith
             Grandma and Grandpa’s invitation to their home for the holiday triggers a modern version of the often-heard Thanksgiving song. End-papers at the front and back are portraits of the four diverse families of the adult children. Dark and light skin, adopted children, same gender parents, plus an assortment of locations where they make their homes, are a visual feast.
            The families’ journeys are equally varied; by ferryboat, airplane, subway, hot air balloon, car, shuttle, train. The story traces each family’s trip separately as it begins. As their paths converge near the grandparents’ home, each family discovers a problem with their travel plans. They are rescued by an increasingly crowded horse-drawn sleigh, accompanied by the horse’s rhyming “NEIGH!”  adding to the happy chaos.
The digital illustrations are detailed, colorful and active. While the double page spread of the full table for Thanksgiving dinner is demonstrably a gathering of love. This happy picture book is perfect for traveling families headed to their own gatherings.     

Sterling, $14.95
Interest Level: Pre-School - Grade 2 

Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy
(Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 2)                       AND
Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl
(Interest Level: Grade 2-4)
Both by Kate Waters, with photographs by Russ Kendall
            These companion books separately feature a boy and girl and describe the lives of children recreated from actual accounts. Carefully photographed with child interpreters from Plimoth Plantation, each book takes its readers from daybreak to sunset. It shows the children getting dressed, the work of the day, mealtimes, lessons, and bedtimes.
The detail is a tribute not only to the outstanding photography, but to the care that has been taken to accurately reflect how clothing was laced, how fields were harvested, how fences were constructed. Also, what fireplaces, tools, furniture, food, games, school supplies gardens and many other daily use items looked like and how they were used.
Both Samuel and Sarah were real children who lived in 1627, which is the year that Plimoth Plantation, the outdoor living museum features. The back matter includes information About Plimoth Plantation, Notes About the Book, and a Glossary. Additionally, Who Was Samuel Eaton? And, Who Was Sarah Morton? Along with; Meet Roger Burns, and Meet Amanda Poole, who are the children who interpret Samuel and Sarah. The Samuel Eaton book also includes information About the Rye Harvest, Of Long Clothes and Breeches, and The Wampanoag People. Comparisons with present day are instructive and engaging after or even during the reading of these delightful books.

Both published by Scholastic, $7.99 (paperback)

Monday, November 6, 2017

What's That Racket? (Monday Poem)

by Eileen Spinelli

Geese honk
Cows moo
Ducks quack
Doves coo
Snakes hiss
Bears growl
Owls hoot
Wolves howl
Chicks peep
Horses neigh
Lions roar
Donkeys bray
Pigs oink
Dogs bark ---
Time for tea
On Noah's ark.

from Tea Party Today: Poems to Sip and Savor 
by Eileen Spinelli
1999, Boyds Mills Press

Monday, October 30, 2017

This is Halloween (Monday Poem)

by Dorothy Brown Thompson

Goblins on the doorstep,
Phantoms in the air,
Owls on witches' gateposts
Giving stare for stare,
Cats on flying broomsticks,
Bats against the moon,
Stirrings round of fate-cakes
With a solemn spoon,
Whirling apple parings,
Figures draped in sheets
Dodging, disappearing,
Up and down the streets,
Jack-o'-lanterns grinning,
Shadows on a screen,
Shrieks and starts and laughter---
This is Halloween!

From Time for Poetry: A Teacher's Anthology
edited by May Hill Arbuthnot
1951, Scott Foresman

Monday, October 23, 2017

Invitation (Monday Poem)

by Eileen Spinelli

Behind the King's roses
The Queen is a bee
And honey's for children
To stir in their tea
And biscuits are cookies
And jam is a treat
That butterflies taste
On their flutter-by feet.
The kettle is cozied
By lemony sun.
Requesting your presence ---
Come join in the fun.

from Tea Party Today: Poems to Sip and Savor 
by Eileen Spinelli
1999, Boyds Mills Press

Monday, October 16, 2017

Tea for One (Monday Poem)

by Eileen Spinelli

A cup of tea
A quiet nook
A cookie and
A picture book
A lump of sugar
On my spoon ---
Now that's a
Perfect afternoon.

from Tea Party Today: Poems to Sip and Savor 
by Eileen Spinelli
1999, Boyds Mills Press