Monday, July 31, 2017

A Song (Monday Poem)

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Thou art the soul of a summer's day,
Thou art the breath of the rose.
But the summer is fled
And the rose is dead
Where are they gone, who knows, who knows?

Thou art the blood of my heart o'hearts,
Thou art my soul's repose,
But my heart grows numb
And my soul is dumb
Where art thou, love, who knows, who knows?

Thou art the hope of my after years--
Sun for my winter snows
But the years go by
'Neath a clouded sky
Where shall we meet, who knows, who knows?

From Jump Back, Paul
The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar
by Sally Derby
2015, Candlewick Press

Monday, July 24, 2017

On the River (Monday Poem)

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

The sun is low,
The waters flow,
My boat is dancing to and fro.
The eve is still,
Yet from the hill
The killdeer echoes loud and shrill.

The paddles plash,
The wavelets dash,
We see the summer lightening flash;
While now and then,
In marsh and fen
Too muddy for the feet of men,

Where neither bird
Nor beast has stirred,
The spotted bullfrog's croak is heard.
The wind is high,
The grasses sigh,
The sluggish stream goes sobbing by.

And far away
The dying day
Has cast its last effulgent ray;
While on the land
The shadows stand
Proclaiming that the eve's at hand.

From Jump Back, Paul
The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar
by Sally Derby
2015, Candlewick Press

Monday, July 17, 2017

An Explanation of the Grasshopper (Monday Poem)

by Vachel Lindsay

The Grasshopper, the grasshopper,

I will explain to you:

He’s the Brownies’ racehorse,

The fairies’ Kangaroo.

From Johnny Appleseed and Other Poems by Vachel Lindsay

1970 Macmillan

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Adventuring with Animals (FAMILY magazine reviews)

The season of summer often supplies chances for travel and new adventures. Sometimes opportunities for trips are not always available. Books like these reviewed below can offer experiences of other cultures, other creatures and other encounters. Experiment by sharing these marvelous books with those you care about!

Leo the Snow Leopard: 
The True Story of an Amazing Rescue
by Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff, and Craig Hatkoff
            The Hatkoffs are known for several nonfiction books about specific animals from several continents. Partnered with engaging photos, these unique stories offer readers opportunities to understand the survival experiences of endangered creatures.
            In this book, a brave goat herder rescues a baby snow leopard, alone in the snowy Karakoram Mountains of northern Pakistan. The orphaned baby is too young to survive on his own, and the family of the goat herder cares for him until he grows too large. As an endangered animal, the goat herder contacts the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), whose offices are located in Gilgit, to help decide where Leo should live.
            Ultimately, the decision is for Leo to make his home at the Bronx Zoo in New York, which is part of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), “a leader in keeping and breeding snow leopards.” The decision for this location requires a team of three scientists to travel from the US to Pakistan to accompany Leo on his trip to the States.
            Unfortunately, a landslide, requiring the scientists to climb over the rubble, blocked the road to the Khunjerab National Park where Leo is located. Once Leo is ready to travel, the US scientists must again carefully crawl over the fallen stones to return. This time, however, with Leo in a cage!
            This remarkable tale, accompanied by wonderful photos of a baby Leo, a playful Leo, a regal Leo; tells of the many people and organizations whose joint efforts and international teamwork made it possible for Leo to thrive. End matter includes a small map of Pakistan, information about Snow Leopards, about the Wildlife Conservation Society, about Zoos and Captive Breeding, and about Endangered Species and International Laws.

Scholastic, $17.99
Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 5

Hawk Mother: 
The Story of a Red-Tailed Hawk Who Hatched Chickens
by Kara Hagedorn    
         Although chickens are usually food for hawks, the injured hawk in this story, named Sunshine “because of her bright personality,” raises two roosters from eggs to chicks to crowing adults with the author’s assistance. Injured by a bullet, the hawk meets the author, who is also a zoologist, at the wildlife center where the rescued bird is being cared for and where the zoologist works.
          The two develop a trusting relationship and become friends. Since the bird can no longer fly, human care is necessary and the author adopts the bird, and takes her home. When the hawk begins building a spring nest, it’s clear that Sunshine expects her human partner to act like a mate and help. This happens for several years, although the eggs never hatch. Yet, together the two care for the eggs. Each time the author eventually removes the eggs and tears up the nest, so the mother bird doesn’t sit all summer waiting.
          One spring, however, the author gets fertilized chicken eggs from the neighbors’ farm, exchanging them for the hawk’s infertile eggs. The two continue to incubate the eggs together. As a zoologist, she is concerned that the hawk might eat the chickens as prey. But Sunshine treats them as her own young chicks even though chicken and hawk babies look and act very different.
           The photos that accompany this heartfelt story include several from the author as well as others. Also featured is an x-ray of Sunshine’s injuries, as well as photos of nest building, incubating the eggs, caring for and feeding the chicks, and even the adult roosters. This thoughtfully told story is carefully written and engaging. Not only is it personal, its environmental message is clear without being excessive. Back matter includes a Glossary (words are bold in the text), More About Hawks, and background on Sunshine and Kara’s Story.

Web of Life Children’s Books, $16.95
Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 4

Saving Yasha: 
The Incredible True Story of an Adopted Moon Bear
by Lia Kvatum, photos by Liya Pokrovskaya
           Hunters come to a den inside a hollow tree where Yasha was born. Yasha could not escape and his mother was gone. He is captured, but then two scientists rescue him, feed him a bottle of milk and lead him into the Russian forest to a little wooden house.
Two other orphaned cubs join Yasha and the two scientists, becoming a kind of family. The moon bears explore, climb, sniff out plants that are good to eat, play in the water nearby, and learn “to live in the woods.”
           The scientists wear clothing to cover their smell, and do not talk to or play with the cubs. “They wanted to make sure the cubs would grow up to live as wild bears.”
            During the winter, for six months, the cubs sleep in a den built by the scientists, and when the snow melts, the bears travel deeper into the Russian wilderness. When a tiger pursues, Yasha escapes by scrambling up a tree. This success convinces the scientists the bears are ready to roam free.
            This heartwarming picture book captures the playfulness of the moon bears by a careful matching of adorable pictures with a well-written yet daunting rescue story. Information at the back includes a map of the area that shows Yasha’s forest and explains about Yasha and Moon Bears in general. Additionally, there is a Note from the Scientist, and a page with More About Bears.

National Geographic, $16.95
Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 4

Monday, July 10, 2017

Summer Poem (Monday Poem)

by Mary Oliver

Leaving the house,
I went out to see

the frog, for example,
in her shining green skin;

and her eggs
like a slippery veil;

and her eyes
with their golden rims;

and the pond
with its risen lilies;

and its warmed shores
dotted with pink flowers;

and the long, windless afternoon;
and the white heron

like a dropped cloud,
taking one slow step

then standing awhile then taking
another, writing

her own soft-footed poem
through the still waters.

From What Do We Know: Poems and Prose Poems by Mary Oliver
2002, Da Capo Press

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Pond’s Chorus (Monday Poem)

by Joanne Ryder

One toad,
One song.
Two toads
Sing along.
Three toads,
Better yet.
Four toads,
A quartet.
Five toads
Catch five flies.
Six toads
Seven toads
Hum higher.
Eight toads,
Quite a choir.
Nine toads
Pause . . .
and then . . .
Ten toads
Start again.

From Toad by the Road: 
A Year in the Life of These Amazing Amphibians, 
by Joanne Ryder
2007, Henry Holt