For today's Poetry Friday entry, I'd like to tell you about a book that Junior and I are enjoying: Janet S. Wong's Knock on Wood: Poems About Superstitions. I have soft spot for books, like this one, that start up a conversation between the people reading it. That's my hope for all children's books, really.
Junior's age, 8, is a fine one for talking about superstitions; he's heard of a few that Wong addresses in the seventeen short poems. With a whiff of mystery and magic, the subjects include four-leaf clovers, horseshoes, broken mirrors, and ladders. Because he didn't know about all of them, Junior was eager to read the glossary where the poet gives a little background on each superstition. For instance, in reference to black cats, Wong notes that they were "revered in ancient Egypt, but feared in medieval Europe." Since we're feline aficionados, we decided we'd rather be like the ancient Egyptians. The poem "Cat" begins "Look out for her, the black cat./Walk backward/when she crosses your path/if you fear the magic she brings/as she travels through your time." Julie Paschkis's typically lush and beautiful illustrations accompany the poems, and provide additional things to discuss.
Many thanks to Wild Rose Reader's Elaine, who gave away Knock on Wood in a blog contest a while back.
You'll find links to more poetry talk in the kidlitosphere at the blog called a wrung sponge. See "Thank Goodness It's (Poetry Friday)," an article at the Poetry Foundation which explains the whole endeavor.