I'm a little haiku-phobic. Hai-ku! Hai-ku! Bless you. Poetry guru Sylvia Vardell recently mentioned studies which found that the 17-syllable form is one that children like the least. So, I have company: fortysomething me and a bunch of 7 year olds. Have I got a book for us!
Our Seasons, by Grace Lin and Ranida T. McKneally, made me forget all about my fear of haiku. Their picture book combines facts about seasons and weather with short and completely understandable poems that complement what is going on in the illustrations. Four children, Ki-Ki, Owen, Lily, and Kevin, take young readers through the seasons as they ask questions ("What makes the wind?") and immerse themselves in the moment ("Owen tastes the snow..."). Along with the poems, the bright colors and the interplay of patterns (curlicues of wind, a raincoat decorated by spring flowers, a multitude of falling snowflakes) in Lin's pictures add some whimsy to the factual information. Also, the haiku here is all about familiar experiences (familiar especially for children who live in areas with four seasons), and studies show that children enjoy poetry about familiar experiences. Not that any of us consults a study before opening a picture book, but still, there it is.
Our Seasons would be a great classroom gift for teachers, who will appreciate both the subject and the book's inclusive nature. The four children are Asian, Caucasian, African American, and Latino. Kids will just enjoy the book. My 7 year old and I certainly liked it.
I'm starting the lassoing for the Poetry Friday roundup today. A number of other blogs in the kidlitosphere participate in this verse rodeo, so leave me a message in the
corral comments when your entry is up. Thanks, pardners.
Elaine considers Juanita Havill's I Heard It From Alice Zucchini at Blue Rose Girls, and points out a good re-issue candidate. A Fuse # 8 finds a worthy successor to Jack Prelustky when his poet laureate gig is up. Seven Impossible Things reads Tony DiTerlizzi's Seuss 'n' Lear tribute, G Is for One Gzonk! and three other new books. A poetic rendering of search terms can be found at Blog from the Windowsill. Ilene at Book Buds extols a glorious new anthology of classic poems.
Susan Taylor Brown shares "The Alligator's Children," by Cicely Fox Smith. Ballads are on the mind of Kelly Fineman. On Check It Out, Ms. Mac posts a Thanksgiving poem of her own and a lovely photo. Journey Woman provides us with Prufrock and a link to Eliot's recording of the poem. We have A Wrung Sponge to thank for highlighting Toni Morrison's picture book The Big Box, written with Slade Morrison.
Hey! It's Poetry Friday's first podcast: Just One More Book reviews Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big, by Berkeley Breathed. A Scholar's Blog offers World War I poems by Siegfried Sassoon and Helen Hamilton. (The anthology mentioned by Ilene also contains a work by Sassoon.) In her highly credible voice, MotherReader says that Adam Rex's Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich is hysterical.
Liz B. raids the Library of Congress for "Thanksgiving," by Mrs. L.A. Sherman; visit A Chair, A Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy for that selection. For Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach," sail over to Little Willow's Slayground. GottaBook scores with a football poem, while What Adrienne Thinks About That serves up Sheree Fitch's funny "Absolutely Gastronomical."
And, wait, what have we here? Why, it's the winner of Valley View Intermediate School's Creative Writing Award, the one, the only Mitali Perkins.