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Bears, Jo, Teen Boys, Old Age, Henry Moore

A few items of interest for some coffee-break clicking this afternoon:

Over at NPR, Daniel Pinkwater recommended A Visitor for Bear on Saturday's "Weekend Edition" program, and he and host Scott Simon read the picture book aloud. (I reviewed the book here.)

Also, NPR arts correspondent Lynn Neary considered "Jo March, Everyone's Favorite Little Woman," on "Morning Edition" today.

Say welcome to a new blog in town: Guys Lit Wire, book reviews and literary news for teenage boys.

My reading recommendation (for grown-ups) today: A Place Called Canterbury, by Dudley Clendinen. Lovely nonfiction about a retirement home in Tampa, where Clendinen's mother lived for nine years. A heartfelt, generous, and sometimes quite funny look at "the new old age" in our country.

"Moore in America," sculptures of Henry Moore in an outdoor setting, has landed at the New York Botanical Garden (through November 2nd). A New York Times slide show is here. It looks so cool; I can't wait to go! For children (aged 9 and up), the NYBG gift shop touts (and sells) the biography Henry Moore, by Sally O'Reilly (from the series Artists in Their Time, Franklin Watts/Scholastic, 2003). Plus, there's Hands On! Creative Projects. ("The 12 innovative projects within this book encourage people of all ages to create their own imaginative works using Henry Moore’s methods and a variety of tools and materials.)

An Original Poem by J. Patrick Lewis!

In honor of all the teachers and students finishing the school year and planning for the next, Chicken Spaghetti is happy to present an original poem—and a villanelle, at thatwhich J. Patrick Lewis sent along. Thank you! Lewis is the author of the recently published collection The World's Greatest: Poems, among many other books for children. All rights belong to J. Patrick Lewis, and this poem cannot be used without permission.

I’m Learning to Speak English

by J. Patrick Lewis



                        Be pashunt please, I don’t know how to spell

      Or read or write your language. Por favor,

         I’m learning to speak English—ESL.


     And I am getting better, I can tell.

     “The bull is mad. Be carefull, matadoor!”          

     Be payshent please, I don’t know how to spell.


     For words like ant and aunt or bell and belle,

     You must know what the extra letter’s for.

     I’m learning to speak English—ESL.


                            My teacher said I’m going to excell.

                              Excell. A word worth 50 cents—or more!            

    Be paishunt please, I don’t know how to spell.


                            She told me that I’d fall…. I did!  I fell                     

                            Into meaty words like a…carnivore!

    I’m learning to speak English—ESL.


                            I want to know my nouns and verbs so well  

                            That someday I will get a perfect score.

    Be patient (!) with me while I learn to spell

    And write and speak in English—ESL.


The June 6th Poetry Friday roundup takes place at Sarah Reinhard's blog.

Out in the Country with "On the Farm"  From the crowing rooster on the cover to the sleeping hound dog to the constantly chewing billy goat, the illustrations (by Holly Meade) in this beautiful book beckon a reader's complete attention. Washes of springtime watercolors complement the bold black woodblock outlines; each two-page spread features a different animal you'd see on a small farm, including a few interlopers, like turtles and rabbits, from the pond and field.

Short poems, by David Elliott, in large print accompany the pictures. Most of them work well. "The Duck Quacks! The Goose Honks! The Hen Squawks!" describes exactly what is going on, and the hound-dog verses are slyly funny. But when reading about the pig, "Her tail? As coy as a ringlet," I scratch my head. Still, Meade's art brings the farm to life, and preschoolers, kindergartners, and beginning readers (with a little help) will have a good time with the book.

On the Farm
written by David Elliot and illustrated by Holly Meade
Candlewick Press, 2008
32 pages
ISBN: 0763633224

Blog Carnivals, More Book Awards

Blog carnivals to visit on this first Monday in June:

I'm still catching up with some of the literary prizes from the spring, including the Best Books for Babies, sponsored by the Beginning with Books Center for Early Literacy, in Pittsburgh. The honored books were

Also noteworthy: