Greatest Science Books--and Other "Best of" Lists
Going Digital: Video Kids Lit

Poetry Friday: Sea Stars

The first-grade class where I volunteer as a reading buddy is spending the whole year studying oceans and sea life. Do I have a book for them! The picture book Sea Stars: Saltwater Poems is a collaborative effort by two British Columbians. Photographer Margaret Butschler took the vibrant photographs first; Avis Harley then wrote short poems for each picture. From the acknowledgments, I gather that the photos were taken at the Vancouver Aquarium, and you'll see a Beluga whale, giant Pacific Octopus, and sea cucumber, among other creatures, as you turn the pages. A two-page section of thumbnail photos at the end provides additional information on each animal or plant.

One personal favorite is "My Good Points," about the Dungeness crab. ("A toe-pinching scrimmage/has damaged my image.") In the introduction to "Sea Stars," Avis Harley writes,

A photograph can be highly inspirational. I encourage you to look for an image that sparks your imagination and then write a poem about it. Use lines that are short, and play with words. Try to describe your subject in a way that no one else has thought of before.

What good advice for young readers. That's exactly what Harley did with "Sips of Sea," a tribute to the pipe fish. Although I don't have copyright permission to quote it, she has an original way of looking at this cousin of a sea horse. Some children will want to write poetry, and many will enjoy looking at the photographs and reading the poems, which are not much longer than captions. My second-grader can read these poems aloud, and I think the first-grade students will get a kick out out of the book, just as we have. Sea Stars makes a fine new addition to the  poetry-and-science shelf.

Note: For all Poetry Friday participants, leave a note, and I'll round up the rhyme crew later today.

Rounded Up: Poetry Friday December 8th edition

A hearty welcome to Poetry Friday goes out to the blog Educating Alice, where Monica has written about Talking Drums: A Selection of Poems from Africa South of the Sahara (selected and illustrated by Veronique Tadjo).

Little Willow presents a Shakespearean "Hokey Pokey." "I Hate the Way You Stare...," from the movie "10 Thing I Hate About You," gets the spotlight at Jenny Han's blog. You can see Osip Mandelstam's "Only to read children's books" at Big A little a. Tornados in North London? Michele commemorates the occasion with some winter poems at Scholar's Blog. Ho, ho, ho, for Christmas picture books written in verse at Blue Rose Girls.

Put on your listening ears because Richard Michelson's picture book Oh No, Not Ghosts! gets the podcast treatment at Just One More Book. Kelly Fineman offers Longfellow's "Snowflakes," while Liz B. gives props to Emily D. at A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy. Paths in a wood--Robert Frost? No, Joseph Campbell; see Susan Taylor Brown's blog for details.

What Adrienne Thinks About two editions of  It's Snowing! It's Snowing! can be found at her blog. The book contains sixteen Prelutskies (love that coinage!). Winter is also on the mind at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, which gives a nod to Louis MacNeice's "Sunlight on the Garden." Lucille Clifton's powerful "listen children" beckons from A Wrung Sponge. More Christmas tidings from By Sun and Candlelight, who offers "Before the Paling of the Stars," by Christina Rossetti.

Farm School honors Emerson, with the post "The frolic architecture of the snow." Mother Reader recovers and shares Shel Silverstein's "Sick." Then the funny "Who Reads Your Manuscript," a poem for writers and editors, sees print at GottaBook. Meanwhile, author Mitali Perkins includes a Sara Teasdale poem from a draft of her new novel.  "The Snake," by William Matthews, slithers onto the page at A Year of Reading. Attention, penguin lovers: Journey Woman recommends Berkeley Breathed's A Wish for Wings That Work, her favorite Christmas book.

More to come, unless everyone else has gone shopping. Hmm, I think that's all. But wait! The Old Coot chimes in with "The Hippopotamus," by L. Sprague de Camp.


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Hi Susan:

Here are some links I've received

Little Willow updated early:

And, she suggests linking to Jenny Han's entry:

And here's mine:


I'm still on the Winter theme after yesterday's tornado in North London !

For Poetry Friday at Blue Rose Girls, I thought I'd step into the holiday season with reviews of three Christmas stories that are written in verse.

Thanks for rounding us up!

For Poetry Friday, we have shared our thoughts about Richard Michelson's "Oh No, Not Ghosts!"

I hope you enjoy it!

I've got "Snowflakes" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow up for today's roundup.

Thanks for the book recommendation!

I'm in with a classic, Emily Dickinson

Joseph Campbell is up at

Thank you

I'm in with two versions of It's Snowing! It's Snowing!.


Hi, Susan. Thanks for doing the round-up. Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast is in with Louis MacNeice's "The Sunlight in the Garden."

We're in with Eisha's pick of "The Sunlight on the Garden" by Louise MacNeice.

d'oh! i missed eisha's comment right above me. sorry for the repeat.

Mine is a Teasdale poem for consolation -- "Barley Bending," which I included in the first draft of a novel now on my editor's desk and am now hoping it remains in the final book.

Got all of you, I believe. Give me a holler if I missed anyone.

I have a hippopotamus for your viewing pleasure....

Thanks Susan! I started a new job this week, so have just dragged myself home and was happy to see you caught me already.

Thanks for including me, Susan! I usually run out the door right after posting my poem, to feed the cattle and chickens, and yesterday we returned to a planned (ha!) power outage during which we got ready (in the dark and without water) to go to a play at noon, followed by errands, followed by a child's recital rehearsal, followed by the new James Bond. A great day but about 48 hours long!

thats very interesting and wonderful

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