Thursday, September 27, 2012

National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry


Edited by J. Patrick Lewis
2012 (National Geographic)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

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Cocoon
The little caterpillar creeps
Awhile before in silk it sleeps
It sleeps awhile before it flies
And flies a while before it dies,
And that's the end of three good tries. 
- David McCord

I don't live in Ohio, but I have visited there and one of my favorite parts of the trip was purchasing and eating buckeye candy. It is a piece of peanut butter candy covered in chocolate. I can't decide what I like best, the peanut butter or the chocolate and really, it is a moot point because both of them are great. So what does that have to do with this book? Like the candy, you have a combination of two great things, a poetry anthology edited by J. Patrick Lewis and the photographic wizardry of National Geographic. The poetry collection features poems about animals written by a wide array of revered poets. Carl Sandburg, Ogden Nash, Joyce Sidman, Emily Dickinson, Jack Prelutsky, and Douglas Florian are just some of the poets featured in Animal Poetry. There are 200 poems in this book! The possibilities for uses in the classroom are endless. You can share these poems in science as part of a unit on animals or the life cycle. A poem can be written on chart paper and read to build fluency or as research on a particular animal. If you are teaching poetry in writer's workshop, there are many genres of poetry featured as well. One of my favorite poems was a haunting refrain from Carl Sandburg titled Buffalo Dusk which describes a long gone time when these animals roamed the prairie in large numbers and those who watched them were in great numbers as well. 

The second part of this literature equation are the wonderful photographs that illustrate these poems. They are the detailed artwork that we have come to expect from National Geographic. My personal favorite is a baby porcupine that accompanies Joyce Sidman's I am a Baby Porcupette. Students will be enthralled by these pictures. My second grade daughter had to be told she had to finish her homework before devouring this book. Having a copy of Animal Poetry in your school library would be beneficial for both teachers and students. 








10 comments:

  1. First, I need to get my hands on some buckeye candy (sounds delicuous!)) and second I need to get a copy of this book for my class. We subscribed to National Geo this year and my kids love the amazing photographs even as they do the stories. Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. I agree. I can't wait to use it with my class. Thank you for stopping by!

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  2. Thanks for this post. It looks like a great addition to any classroom. I can't wait to read it.

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    1. Thank you, Joy! Students are going to love this book.

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  3. I am not a big sports fan, so I love having my own personal giggle about all the people here who cheer fervently for a team whose mascot is a TREE NUT!! Go, OSU TREE NUTS!! Ha. But my scorn doesn't stop me from loving the local tree-nut inspired candy. Peanuts/peanut butter and chocolate...doesn't get any better.

    And as for this book...well, I gave it an equally glowing review today!!

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    1. OH - IO. One of my visits was for a football game in Columbus. That was a memorable experience, candy included. I agree that some of our mascots are very strange. I wonder if the student who wears the costume stops and thinks, "I'm dressed as a tree nut." Thank you, Mary Lee for a good laugh!

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  4. I wonder if J. Patrick Lewis ever sleeps. How can he write SO many books? And they are all wonderful!

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    1. Perhaps he writes poems about sleep. Thank you, Ruth!

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  5. This book is already on its way to me and I cannot wait. You are right about that delicious combination, plus I'm a sucker for animals, anthologies, and photography...think I'll like this one?

    "Cocoon" is cute but sad! :)

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  6. Ooh, I wanna read Buffalo Dusk. (My father lives in North Dakota, so lots of opportunities to visit that prairie!) Thank you for sharing -- sounds like a can't go wrong anthology. Yay, National Geo and Pat Lewis and all the contributing poets! Thank you for sharing.

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