Monday, January 15, 2018

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, January 11, 2018

Animals Are Amazing (FAMILY magazine reviews)

Animals of all kinds are a near-magnetic draw for young children. Actually, to be truthful, adults are just as easily tempted by the antics and activities of animals from birds to insects, from fish to reptiles. We humans are as interested in other species as these animal populations are often intrigued with us. Don’t miss a chance to enjoy these non-fiction picture books with the youngsters in your life.

The Nutty Little Vulture 
by Marta Magellan
illustrated by Mauro Magellan
            Little Vulture’s mom offers to teach him how to get his own food. But he’s already off, finding it for himself.
Still learning to fly, he plops on Bald Vulture’s dinner of rotten meat, and after trying it, decides it’s not for him. He doesn’t like the bones that are Bearded Vulture’s dinner either. When he accidentally opens the rotten egg by landing on it, Egyptian vulture thanks him. But after tasting, Little Vulture is again not interested.
Each time the vultures remind him that if they didn’t eat what Little Vulture thinks is yukky - “who would?” Their eating habits help “to keep things neat.”
 The importance of what vultures contribute by eating carrion is emphasized by the repetitive comments in large easy to read text, following each of Little Vulture’s food inspections. Expressive illustrations draw readers into the story. The sister/brother author/illustrator team have combined their talents to share this engaging, environmentally thoughtful picture book.
Back matter includes facts about vultures, a glossary, and references.
Eifrig Publishing
$14.99 hardcover, $9.99 paperback
Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 2

Tiger by Suzi Eszterhas
            Author/wildlife photographer Eszterhas has created a captivating nonfiction picture book with elegant photos of cubs with their mother. Set in India, the narrative begins with “hidden treasure” – the tigress returning to her den where three tiny striped babies are protected from danger.
            Told in pictures with accompanying clear and carefully crafted text, readers are introduced to a family who play, eat, and adventure together. Readers discover how the locations of their homes keeps them safe. How they eat, where they sleep, and explore. Additionally, the substance of playtime is learning how to move their bodies.    Emphasizing the importance of waterholes for staying healthy, the author also highlights the young tigers, watching mom as she hunts. Young people will be attracted to the delightful story and enchanting photos of these fascinating animals. The final page includes additional interesting information about tigers in the wild.
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
$15.99 hardcover, $9.99 paperback
Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 2

Koala by Claire Saxby
illustrated by Julie Vivas
            A young koala must find a new home away from his mother. It is time for him to get his own food. His mother sends him off when her next baby is on the way.
            Later, he is also chased away by another male, endures a rainstorm, and escapes from a snake. Finally, he finds a new tree home in a different location.
            Large text details the koala’s adventures. Informative commentary is in smaller font near the bottom of most pages. Appealing watercolor paintings show the Australian eucalyptus trees where koalas make their homes. Active koalas eating, climbing, and jumping with their hind legs, connect with readers as text and illustrations blend to make an absorbing nonfiction picture book.
            A note at the end provides additional information about koala features, habits and activities. A brief alphabetical index helps readers locate specific details in the book.       

Candlewick Press, $16.99
Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 3

Monday, January 8, 2018

For Our Children's Children (Monday Poem)

by Chris Colderley

Greet the new day
like a stranger
entering it
for the first time.

Listen to the rivers,
the raven's song,
the woodpecker's knock,
and your beating heart.

Walk softly, mind
the leaves dancing
in shaky hands
of an old maple.

Let the shadows
of drifting clouds
warm your cheek
and whisper softly:

Share the earth
with all creatures.
Love them, and they
will love you back.

celebrating Chief Dan George

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

Monday, January 1, 2018

Contemporary Haiku (Monday Poem)

by Chris Colderley

Desks in tidy rows
Notebooks and texts neatly stacked
New year begins soon.

Thunder and lightning
Rain soaking the school blacktop
Recess bells silent.

Pens scratching paper
Syllables counted with care
Poets blossoming.

celebrating Basho

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

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Carol (Monday Poem)

(An old fashioned blessing of good wishes)

God bless the master of this house,
The mistress also,
And all the little children,
That round the table go,
And all your kin and kinsmen
That dwell both far and near;
I wish you a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year.

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

Monday, December 18, 2017

Please (Monday Poem)

by Eileen Spinelli

You may put sugar
In your tea
Or milk
Or honey from the bees
You may prefer
A lemon squeeze
Or choose to use
None of these.
Just don't put in
Your fingers

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

Monday, December 11, 2017

I Heard a Bird Sing (Monday Poem)

by Oliver Herford

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.
"We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,"
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

from Sing a Song of Popcorn: Every Child's Book of Poems, selected by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers, Eva Moore, Mary Michaels White, Jan Carr, 1988, Scholastic