Archive for Poetry

black is brown is tan

  • Author / Illustrator: Arnold Adoff / Emily Arnold McCully
  • Poetry
  • Age Range/Level Recommendation:  3 – 8 yrs.

Summary: Poem about an interracial home. Shows what most see as normal parent child interaction.

Themes/Tags: Love, family


  1. Why do you think the author chose this title?
  2. How is your family like the one here in the poem? Different?
  3. How does your Mom or Dad react when you do not do as they ask?

Extension Activities:

  1. Color mixing – black and white, brown and white, black, brown and white
  2. Family chart on hair color, eye color, favorite color, favorite food…….
  3. Make a family house. Large paper house, glue on pictures showing family doing things. Great do at home and bring in to share activity.

Comment: I am not a big poem person, but I love this poem and why it was written. Lastest version is updated with watercolor illustrations and contemporary setting.

Good book to read if you do not have a diverse student group as if offers a chance to see differences in homes/families. Great book if you do have a mixed racial student, as they will love reading about a family like their own.

Personal / PB

Suggested reading:

The Colors of Us by Karen Katz

The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler

Bein’ with You This Way by W. Nikola-Lisa

Published in: Multi-cultural, Poetry on March 4, 2012 at5:08 pm Comments (0)
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Wonderful Worms

  • Author / Illustrator: Linda Glaser / Loretta Krupinski
  • Informational
  • Age Range/Level Recommendation:  4-8 yrs.

Summary: All about worms. How they function and improve our soils.

Themes/Tags: science, worms


  1. What do we use worms for?
  2. Where do worms go in the winter?
  3. Why do you see lots of worms on our driveway after a heavy rain?

Extension Activities:

  1. Make a picture of a worm’s habitat. Pull string/yarn through paint then place onto the paper, fold it over and press until get the worm tunnels you want. Finish off with fingerprints to look like stones, gravel, etc.
  2. Make a worm bucket for your garden
  3. Make a worm life cycle chart, or label the parts of a worm
  4. Birds eating worms (fine motor game) from PreKinders
  5. Worm Painting

Comment: The simple illustrates draw children in. You feel you are laying on the ground watching worms at work.

Personal / PB

Suggested reading:

Garden Wigglers: Earthworms in Your Backyard by Nancy Loewen

Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals

An Earthworm’s Life (Nature Upclose) by John Himmelman


Published in: Informational, Nonfiction, Poetry on at1:58 pm Comments (0)
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On the Day You Were Born

  • Author / Illustrator: Debra Fraiser
  • Poetry
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (3-8 yrs.)

Parents’ Choice Award

Summary:  All children love to hear the story of how they can into the world. This book combines the mythical and scientific to  explain how the sun, moon, ocean tides, rain, trees, air, animals and people of the world work together to create a welcoming setting for a child’s birth or arrival.

Themes: birth, natural world


  1. What is the story you have heard about your birth?
  2. Why is the birth of a child such a special occasion?

Extension Activities:

  1. make your family tree
  2. make a collage of the earth in the style (Matisse) of the illustrations

Comment: lots of scientific explanation at the conclusion of the book, interesting graphic collage illustrations

Personal / PB

Suggested reading:

Published in: Picture Book, Poetry on September 9, 2011 at3:28 pm Comments (0)
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Bein’ With You This Way

  • Author / Illustrator: W. Nikola-Lisa / Michael Bryant
  • Multi-cultural, Poetry
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (4-8 yrs.)

Children’s Book-of-the-Month Club Selection
Best Books Winner Child Magazine
Reading Magic Award Winner Parenting Magazine

Summary: On sunny day, an African American girl visits the park playground and meets up with her friends. As they play, they discover their physical differences — straight hair, curly hair; brown eyes, blue eyes; light skin, dark skin. At the same time they realize they are all really the same and isn’t it wonderful to all be together.

Themes: Individuality, Cultural diversity, Neighbors, Similarities and Differences


  1. What is one way that you are different from your best friend?
  2. What would it be like if we were all exactly the same? Why?
  3. Why do you think the author wrote this as a rap?

Extension Activities:

  1. draw a self portrait
  2. chart similarities and differences of individuals in the class or group
  3. take a photo of each child and then with sites such as BeFunky change out an characteristic or two.

Comment: Playground rap or repetitive verse. Watercolor illustration are happy and show lots of motion/movement.

Personal / PB

Suggested reading:

Published in: Multi-cultural, Poetry on at2:17 pm Comments (0)
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Monster Goose

  • Author / Illustrator: Judy Sierra/ Jack E. davis
  • Nursery Rhymes
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (4-8 yrs.)

Summary: Old Monster Goose has taken some of Mother Goose’s famous nursery rhymes and given them a ghoulish twist. These 25 poems are filled with spiders, monsters, zombies, trolls, rodents and humor.

Themes: nursery rhyme life lessons (with a twist)


  1. Which nursery rhyme was the easiest for you to recognize? Why?
  2. Why do you think the author rewrote the Mother Goose nursery rhymes this way?

Extension Activities:

  1. Compare original Mother Goose with Monster Goose rhyme.
  2. Make a monster, ghoul mobile or collage with characters from the rhymes.

Comment: I loved this rewrite. I might not read all the rhymes to the youngest preschoolers, because some are pushing it (drinking gasoline). Some of the illustrations are also a little intense, but on the whole totally fun and kids should really enjoy.

First pull of this would seem to be for Halloween, but I can see it being used all the time.

Library / PB/JF

Suggested reading:

traditional Mother goose nursery rhymes

Published in: Fantasy, Fiction, Nursery Rhymes, Poetry on August 16, 2011 at7:42 pm Comments (0)
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If Not For The Cat

  • Author / Illustrator: Jack Prelutsky / Ted Rand
  • Poetry
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (4-8 yrs.)

Summary: This collection of haikus explores the points of view of individual animals. The words form a riddle which is answered in the illustration.

Themes: essence of an animal


  1. (for each haiku) Can you solve the riddle?
  2. What animal would you have liked to have seen a haiku about?

Extension Activities:

  1. Draw/color one of the animals that answered a riddle. Copy the haiku and attached to the animal.
  2. Try to write a haiku in Jack Prelutsky’s style.

Comment: Go-to book for haiku to read aloud in classrooms.

Personal / PB

Published in: Picture Book, Poetry on July 14, 2011 at3:27 pm Comments (0)
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Everywhere Babies

  • Author / Illustrator: Susan Meyers/ Marla Frazee
  • Poetry/ Realism/ Concept
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: infant/toddler

Summary: Multiracial babies are shown doing all the things babies do and are done with them throughout their first year of life.

Themes: unique, individual, love, humor


  1. Why are babies fun to be around?
  2. What was your favorite thing to do as a baby?

Extension Activities:

  1. class poster of baby pictures so can compare among the
  2. science observation chart of ways we are same and different

Comment: pictures are soft, but have a realism about them that is very approachable. Multicultural in the variety of babies and family members depicted. Really hit everything babies do in first year of life. Strong sense of love and humor in the simple rhythmic text.

Personal / PB (hardcover)

Published in: Concept, Picture Book, Poetry, Realism on July 13, 2011 at8:44 pm Comments (0)
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Me I Am!

  • Author / Illustrator: Jack Prelutsky/ Christine Davenier
  • Poetry
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (3-6 yrs.)

Prelutsky is the Poetry Foundation’s first Children’s Poet Laureate

Summary: We see the very individual personalities of three different children in mini-sections. First is a mischievous tomboy, next an boy who loves nature, and last is an artistic ballerina who preforms her own Swan Lake. At the end they meet and discover a world full of other “ME’s.”

Themes: individuality


  1. What is something you do that makes you special?
  2. What is something that you do that makes you like other people?

Extension Activities:

  1. make a “ME” mobile, or booklet such as this very adaptable one from Finally in First
  2. make a family tree
  3. make a name project like this name monster (don’t we all have a special monster inside us?) directions at we heart art.

Comment: Great poem and fun way to get it across in book form. The illustrations are so kid friendly.

Personal / PB

Published in: Fiction, Picture Book, Poetry on July 12, 2011 at3:02 pm Comments (0)

In One Tidepool: Crabs, Snails and Salty Tails

  • Author / Illustrator: Anthony D. Fredericks/ Jennifer DiRubbio
  • Poetry/ Informational
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (4-8 yrs.)

Missouri State Teacher’s Association Recommended Reading List

Summary: A girls peers into a tidepool finding all the life within it.

Themes: nature, curiosity


  1. How is life in a tidepool similar to our life?
  2. Which animal of the tidepool would you like to be and why?

Extension Activities:

  1. visit a tidepool
  2. make a mobile of tidepool animals
  3. share/ show and tell of items individuals have collected while visiting the ocean
  4. link to activities booklet from the publisher –

Comment: Illustrations are colorful close-ups of the tidepool life poem is about. Author provides an informational field notes section and resource sites at the end of this book. Sections of the poem follow the “House-That-Jack-Built”-style cumulative rhyme format.

Personal/ PB

Published in: Informational, Picture Book, Poetry on July 11, 2011 at8:45 am Comments (0)
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A Garden of Whales

  • Author / Illustrator: Maggie Steincrohm Davis /Jennifer Barrett o’Connell
  • Fantasy/ Poetry
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: middle reader (8-12 yrs.)

Vermont Publishers Association Special Merit Award

Summary: A young boy dreams about the magnificent whales of the sea. He is worried about their future. He developes a plans to save the whales by planting a whale garden with help from children from all over the world. The garden grows and the seas are full again of whales.

Themes: unity of the human and animal world, love for natural world


  1. What would you do to save the whales?
  2. How can you tell the boy is dreaming thorough out this story?

Extension Activities:

  1. Look up other endangered animals and what is being done to support them.
  2. Project on types of whales and their survival needs.
  3. Find animals that have been removed from the endangered species list.

Comment:  Great read aloud for younger readers due to the rhythmic text. A portion of the author’s proceeds even go to the Earth Island Institute.

Personal signed book/ JF/ PB

Published in: Fantasy, Fiction, Picture Book, Poetry on July 10, 2011 at8:15 pm Comments (0)
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