written and paintings by Douglas Florian
2012 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Source: Orange County Public Library
Check out Poetry Friday at Jama's Alphabet Soup
The winter is through.
The springtime is here.
The season is new.
The weather is clear.
We're ready to hit one
Right over the wall.
The winter is through-
Throw out the first ball!
Even though football has replaced baseball as the premier sport in America, it is baseball that makes old fogeys like me wax nostalgic about our youth. I played catcher for the Pirates in Little League. The best part was everyone, win or lose, got a soda after the game. If we won, we would ride in the open trunk of a car and honk the horn celebrating our victory in the neighborhood. This was back in the day where car safety wasn't the priority it is now. Douglas Florian's Poem Runs makes me think of those days and how I enjoyed playing the game and how I still like watching minor league baseball. You know Florian is a big fan since he writes a poem specifically for the right fielder and mentions picking daisies which is a great skill for a young right fielder. With the exception of center field and left field, each position receives their own poem. I love the verbs in these poems. Baseballs are snatched or grabbed with ease. The poem, A Baseball, lists 14 different things actions you can take with a baseball. Each poem oozes with the joy of playing this sport. Accompanying the poems are mixed media paintings that are "kid-like" and exaggerate the qualities of each subject.
Poem Runs would be a nice change of pace for shared reading experiences. You can write a poem on chart paper and have the class read it with you. Older students could write poems for positions in other sports. Swimmers could write a poem about the backstroke. Soccer players could write a poem for the striker or the goalie. There are a ton of possibilities. Florian's poems also show children how you can play with the shape of poems. Poem Runs will be a hit for poetry fans.