Thursday, July 25, 2013

STEM Friday: Water Sings Blue

Water Sings Blue
written by Kate Coombs; illustrated by Meilo So
2012 (Chronicle Kids)
Source: Orange County Public Library

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He circles and stares
with a broken-glass grin,
his body's a dagger,
he has lion's-tongue skin.

He slides through the water
like a rumor, like a sneer.
He's a quick twist of hunger.
He's the color of fear

As great poetry will do, Water Sings Blue takes you to the ocean and helps you remember why you love it so. It also lacks several story hotels and stores that sell $5 t-shirts, which is a bonus. You get the best of the ocean with this book. The first poem, Song of the Boat, displays some of the characteristics of Kate Coombs's writing that make this a great book for the classroom. In an eight line poem, she uses the word brown three times. When you think of the ocean, blue and green immediately come to mind, but brown is usually underrated in its presence. It's an observant eye that sees this and brings it to life. The land is nut-brown, while the pier is heavy brown. This is the kind of description and sharp eye that we want to teach our students to notice and try to emulate. I also like the multitude of tones you find in this book. Seagulls is conversational while Blue Whale is majestic and reverent. This is an excellent lesson for young and old writers to observe.

Another terrific aspect of these poems is the science that is involved. My favorite poem in the book, Sand's Story tells how mighty rocks have been reduced to mere sand. Imagine these stones as rulers and it actually connects quite nicely with Coldplay's song, Vida la Vida. Tide Pool presents many creatures that you will find there in the form of a shopping list. Sea Turtle gives information about the animal's ability to navigate currents. There is plenty of science here for lessons on ocean life. After reading this book, it would not be hard to inspire students to try their hand at writing a short poem about an ocean critter.

Water Sings Blue is a book that you need to purchase for your poetry and science collections. The illustrations by Meilo So are gorgeous and the myriad of ways you can use this book make it a must buy.

In the book is a poem titled Sea Urchin, and on my recent trip to California, I happened to see one in a tide pool. They are beautiful creatures.

Other reviews of Water Sings Blue:


  1. Cool! thanks for posting. I volunteer at our Sciencenter and there's a touch tank with urchins and starfish. Gotta go read those songs now, so I can sing 'em to the visitors.

  2. This sounds lovely--from the words to the illustrations to the connections to science--thanks for featuring this one! Especially love the line about the shark's "broken-glass grin."