Thursday, September 6, 2012

Poetry and STEM Friday: The Year Comes Round

The Year Comes Round
written by Sid Farrar; illustrated by Ilse Plume
2012 (Albert Whitman)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Check out Poetry Friday at Katya's Write. Sketch. Repeat.
Check out STEM Friday for more math and science links

  Surprised by her new
webbed feet, tadpole considers
    a career on shore

If Sid Farrar were a baseball player, he would be in the running for rookie of the year for his debut book, The Year Comes Round. Combining seasons and poetry is a winning idea (See Red Sings From Treetops) and Farrar fulfills this promise with a set of 12 haikus that run from January to December. One of the surprising elements of these haikus is the sly humor. Snowmen root against the sun. A robin extends an invitation to an earthworm to visit her family. A tadpole considers a job change. Lawns and mowers reach a cease-fire. This is clever stuff. Haiku seems like such a simple art form to the rest of us mere mortals, but it's not. Farrar masterfully uses the form and creates thirteen (like a prize in a cereal box, there is an extra haiku behind the back matter) pieces of fun poetry. In addition, there are three informational text selections in the back matter. The first one gives an explanation of haiku. The other two selections talk about the rotation of the earth and provide a description of the four seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. For your first book, it's also not a bad idea to have Ilse Plume providing the artwork. Her scenes of the natural world are beautiful.

The second grade teacher in me wants to type out these haikus and have students sequence them to see what kind of order they create. This is the perfect book to introduce the form of haiku to young writers. For second or third graders, I would put together a four page booklet with one haiku for each season. Kindergarten students could use these poems for shared reading experiences while other grade levels could find the examples of personification. The Year Comes Round is an admirable debut book.

8 comments:

  1. I like to add poetry to my preK storytimes. Doug Florian is one of my favorites for that purpose. As soon as I receive The Year Comes Round, I'll give it a try.

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    1. I'm a Florian fan as well. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Thanks for the review. This looks like a great book to have in the classroom. I also like Scholastic's "Haiku Hike" and "Wabi Sabi" for teaching haiku.

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  3. This looks like a very cool book. Haiku is awesome, and seasons are an integral part of the short poetry.

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    1. Thanks, Sue! It really works well in the elementary classroom.

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  4. Oh boy! I love haikus. This sounds like a very interesting collection, especially since it follows monthly/seasonal theme. Thanks for describing the other haikus included in this book. I can already see the poet's witty wordplay. :)

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