Monday, April 27, 2015

Famous (Monday Poem)

by Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.

from The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects  Selected by Paul B. Janeczko, 2015, Candlewick

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Red Wheelbarrow (Monday Poem)

by William Carlos Williams

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

from The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects  Selected by Paul B. Janeczko, 2015, Candlewick

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Riddle, On the Letter E (Monday Poem)

by George Gordon, Lord Byron

The beginning of eternity, the end of time and space,
The beginning of every end, and the end of every place.

from The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects  Selected by Paul B. Janeczko, 2015, Candlewick

Friday, April 10, 2015

April Hosts Poetry & Earth Care (FAMILY magazine reviews)

During the month of April, remember to play with poetry using both rhyming and non-rhyming books. Memorize a poem or more that you love, and help your child(ren) learn a poem they can say again and again. Try any or all of these books to share.  And don’t forget to plan a project you can do together to care for the earth.
Taking time to enjoy books and activities that extend the reading experience can create lasting memories that will return to enrich all of our lives. Have fun!!

Some Bugs by Angela DiTerlizzi 
Illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
            The rhyming exploration of backyard bugs in this lively book encourages readers to dig in the dirt. It invites them to investigate backyard insects. “Building, making, hunting, taking – bugs are oh-so-fascinating!”
Explosively colorful illustrations feature bugs that bite and fight. Other bugs glide and hide. A ladybug onlooker watches the busy activity on each page.
Younger children especially will become absorbed in the lively creatures as they flutter, click, hop and hide on the pages of this merry picture book. The final double page spread labels all the pictured bugs.

Simon & Schuster, $17.99 
Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Kindergarten

Maple by Lori Nichols
            A little girl, with the same name as the tiny tree planted before her birth, “When she was still a whisper,” loves both the tree and her name. She romps with and under her tree and through the pages. Both she and the tree grow and change with the seasons and the years.
            White space helps to shape the passing of time. It also contrasts with the importance of the full-page illustrations for defining the relationships in the story:  Maple’s friendship with her tree; with the parents (whose faces we never see); and with the new baby in the family. The new tree, a Willow, like her name, arrives just before she does. 
The pencil illustrations are digitally colored. Filled with cheerful energy, they are lit with warm greens and cool blues. Surprisingly vigorous, for a reflective space, are the two spreads showing Maple’s tree leaves as they dance. This is a tender, gently told story to charm young listeners.

Penguin, $16.99 
Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 1

The Great Big Green by Peggy Gifford 
Illustrated by Lisa Desimini
            Saving the kicker until the end, this subtle environmental tale is all about shades and kinds of green. Without defining “the thing” except by giving clues -- “anaconda green,” “turtle-green ponds,” “tornado-sky greens,” “bunch-of-green-grapes green” – readers and listeners are invited to guess. 
            An Artist’s Note at the end explains that Desimini has scanned papers, fabric, photos, and “other unusual materials.” She then uses these scans to create mixed media collages for the illustrations. Her use of orange, rose, purple and even blue and turquoise backgrounds adds movement and texture, making the greens really POP with energy. Especially bold is the double page spread of the tiger’s orange-tinted, striped face and marble-green eyes staring directly from beneath green leaves.
Beginning with a spiral shape on the first page, Gifford’s rollicking text circles around through the pages to a green ball in the next to last page.  Sometimes rhyming, always rhythmic, the words and matching pictures create the twist on the final pages - the blue globe!

Boyds Mills, $15.95 
Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 3 

More reading choices to focus on nature’s gifts:

Seed Soil Sun: Earth’s Recipe for Food 
by Cris Peterson, photos by David R. Lundquist
Boyds Mills, $17.95 (hardcover) $7.95 (paperback) 
Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 3

Plant a Little Seed 
by Bonnie Christensen
Roaring Brook, $17.99 
Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 2 

Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature 
by Sarah C. Campbell, photos by Sarah C. Campbell and Richard P. Campbell
Boyds Mills, $16.95 
Interest Level: Grades 1-4 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Oh, the Train (Monday Poem)

Oh, the train pulled in the station.
The bell was ringing wet.
The train ran by the depot,
And I think it's running yet.

'Twas midnight on the ocean.
Not a streetcar was in sight.
The sun and moon were shining,
And it rained all day that night.

'Twas a summer day in winter,
And the snow was raining fast
As a barefoot boy with shoes on
Stood sitting on the grass.

Oh, I jumped into the river
Just because it had a bed.
I took a sheet of water
For to cover up my head.

Oh, the rain makes all things beautiful,
The flowers and grasses, too,
If the rain makes all things beautiful,
Why didn't it rain on you?

from Over the Hills and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes Collected by Elizabeth Hammill, 2015, Candlewick