Wrap up this book for someone special. Poetry Friday meets Perfect Picture Book Friday.

Last week, my hubby surprised me with a present that combines three of my interests between one set of colorful book covers. The book is called Origami and Haiku inspired by Japanese artwork. With Christmas nearly here, I’d like to share this book with you because I believe it would make a perfect present, both for children and adults.

This book combines the beautiful and sparse poetry form of Haiku, the intricate, paper-folding art of origami, stunning nature illustrations by various Japanese artists, and…

if that doesn’t seem amazing enough, 50 removable origami papers so readers can follow along and create the projects which correspond to the poems and art.

I call that a lot to love in a book!

 

Title – Origami and Haiku – inspired by Japanese artwork

Published by – Nosy Crow, an imprint of Candlewick Press – 2018

Topics/Theme –  Haiku poems, origami projects, Japanese nature illustrations

A haiku poem from the page about the rabbit:  

even the rabbit droops one

of her ears–

midsummer heat!

by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

Find this book here on Amazon

For those of you who are interested in learning more about Haiku, here are two fun projects.

Origami rings Here
origami rings

 

 

 

 

Origami elephant Here

easy origami elephant

To learn more about Haiku look Here and Here.

More Haiku books for children (Click the title to jump to each book’s listing on Amazon.)

One Leaf Rides the Wind

Hi, Koo

The Cuckoo’s Haiku

Dogku

Until next Friday.

Acrostic Poems Meet Perfect Picture Book Friday.

Last month I had the immense pleasure of attending a Highlights Foundation poetry workshop in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania. I honestly thought the dream of taking one of their classes would remain a dream. After all, Pennsylvania isn’t exactly up the road from me. And let’s not forget that I’d be away for a full week, leaving my husband and daughter to fend for themselves.

I’m happy to report that the pets of our small zoo were alive when I returned home. However, the dog looked thinner from a lack of treats, the laundry hadn’t been taken care of, and confessions revealed that “snack night” replaced dinner a few times…

I drove up with a friend from my poetry critique group for a writing experience that changed the way I look at the world, poetry, and writing. Since the workshop, I have given myself much needed quiet time each day to rework past poems and begin new ones. And in addition to receiving valuable critiques and comments on my writing along with valuable insight, inspiration, and a fresh approach to writing, I left the class with the gift of new friendships.

For today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review, I’m sharing a book of acrostic poetry. Acrostic poems are created when a word or phrase is written vertically down the page. interesting facts and clues about the subject comprise each line of the poem.

Title – African Acrostics: A word in Edgeways

Written by – Avis Harley

Photographs by – Deborah Noyes

Published by – Candlewick Press – 2009

Topics – children’s poetry, safari, African animals

Opening – The book opens with a poem that defines the acrostic poem. 

ACROSTIC (uh-KROS-tik)

Welcome, all poets — both new

Or well versed. Non-rhymers or

Rhymers! Come,

Drive in headfirst!

 

Inviting all writers —

Now you’re just the right age.

 

Explore the acrostic that rides

Down the page.

Get a word you

Enjoy and would like to define.

Write it down vertically

And fill in each line.

Your name is a very good way to begin.

Surprise yourself. Find that poem within! 

If you read down the spine the poem (including the title), you’ll find four words that appear in the book’s title. 

Amazon’s Review –  View it HERE. Inside every acrostic is a secret message, often lurking in the first letter of each line (read top to bottom). But look out! These acrostics not only follow their subjects to Africa, but they also take the form to a whole new level. Here you’ll find the elusive double acrostic (in which the first and last letters of each line spell a message), the cross acrostic (in which the message is read diagonally), and the multiple acrostics (see it to believe it) — not to mention lions, zebras, crocodiles, hippos, leopards, and elephants. Oh, my! Illustrated with gorgeous full-color photographs, this collection is sure to send poetry buffs and animal lovers on an armchair safari they’ll never forget.
Back matter includes information about acrostics, nature notes, and a photographer’s note.

Why do I like this book? While at the Highlights Poetry Workshop, one of the writers specialized in acrostic poetry. I played with writing this form back in high school, but I never wrote in this style since. Then, while I was browsing the poetry shelves at my library yesterday, I pulled this book off the shelf and learned that other forms of acrostic poetry exist beyond the most common form (the subject reading down the left side of the poem). I discovered double acrostics in which a word is formed down both the left and right side as well as the cross acrostic in which the word appears diagonally. So much creativity in one magical book! Plus AMAZING photographs of the animals of Africa.

Just for fun – Try writing your own acrostic poem. You can start by writing your name down the left side of the page, a word that defines your personality, a favorite season and what it means to you, the name of your favorite animal or pet, a place you love to visit, or your favorite go-to snack. Then, brainstorm words or phrases that come to mind about your topic and fit them into this marvelous form of poetry. Remember, poems don’t need to rhyme.

Here are two of my acrostic poems with the title’s first letter being part of the word.

PERHAPS A POEM ABOUT POEMS (unrhyming)

Only the sweetest words

Express the

Magic I feel in my

Soul

 

LESLIE

Envies the birds with their wings spread in flight,

Soaring as high as a sky-sweeping kite.

Lifting from branches.

Imagining chances.

Every day.

I hope you’ll take a moment in your day to write an acrostic poem. And if you feel brave enough, please share it in the comments.

Mother Goose Meets Your Favorite Vehicle This Perfect Picture Book Friday!

One of my critique groups focuses solely on writing children’s poetry. I’m one of four ladies that meet once a month to share and critique ten new poems we’ve each written. I’m not kidding when I tell you I find it challenging to write ten new (and hopefully clever) poems month after month. However, the challenge is met with an equal amount of fun. Some poems start out with a bang! A great idea turns into line after line of sheer childhood wonder. Other poems. . . Well, there’s no better word I can think of. Other poems I try to write stink. Delete, delete, delete.

Obviously, new poems require inspiration. Where do I find inspiration?

  • I drive to my library and hang out in the children’s play area, observing and listening.
  • I sit at the playground and watch the kids interact.
  • I also use photographs as springboards.

Anything and everything can become the subject of a poem.

Another way I find inspiration is from writing out topic lists. Here are some of my headings.

  • What do children love?
  • What do children learn at school?
  • What games do they like to play?
  • What do kids notice that adults don’t?
  • What do children want more than anything?
  • What do children wish they are big enough to do?
  • What do children believe?
  • What are they afraid of?
  • What foods do they love?
  • What foods would they rather never see on their plates?
  • What pets do children want for a birthday present?
  • What are their fantasies and dreams?
  • Write about a child’s visit to a new place.
  • What can happen on weekend with their grandparents?
  • Write about a new skill a child learns, like fishing with their dad.

Today, I want to share an amazing, innovating, highly creative book of poems written by Rebeca Colby. Her inspiration? Enlightening children about the uses of a variety of vehicles from a submarine to an airplane and everything in between.  And one more thing . . .  All her poems can be sung to favorite, classic nursery rhymes. Now that’s what I call a fun book to share with a child!

Title – Motor Goose

Written by – Rebecca Colby

Illustrated by – Jef Kaminsky

Published by – Feiwel and Friends – 2017

Topics – poems about vehicles, nursery rhymes

Opening –  

 

Little Jack Junker (Little Jack Horner)

Little Jack Junker,

broken-down clunker,

surprised all the cars

in the race.

‘Cause right from the start,

he lost part after part,

yet he finished the race

in first place.

Amazon’s Review –  View it HERE. Wonderful rhymes and VEHICLES! Here is a collection that every car/plane/boat/crane/digger/taxi/train-loving kid will adore. With hilarious artwork by Jef Kaminsky, Motor Goose is a must-have for readers who like things that go. And as the rhymes progress, the day winds down, making this perfect for bedtime.

Why do I like this book? The poems are ingenious, unexpected, and downright FUNNY! If you love to laugh and you enjoy sheer cleverness on a genius level, this book is for you. Rebecca Colby clearly researched each vehicle she built into a poem and educates children in a highly entertaining manner. And yes, the addition of bright, colorful, illustrations created with humor and the right amount of attitude by Jef Kaminsky, compliment the poetry to perfection!

Just for fun – Take a kid-friendly topic of interest to you, add to it your favorite nursery rhyme, and see what magic you can create!

Perfect Picture Book Friday Looks at Water Sings Blue

Ever since that first magical day when I saw the ocean as a child, I have been drawn to the soothing sound of the tides lapping on the sand in concert with the call of the gulls. I have loved searching for treasures in tidepools, loved finding colorful seashells, and enjoy holding smooth washed stones. I’m also easily enchanted by the momentary treasure of the etched lines the sandpipers draw in the sand as they run by before the next wave washes the sand clean. With so much to love about the ocean, it’s no wonder poets continually try to capture the magic of water, sand, and sea life.

Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review is Water Sings Blue, a collection of ocean poems that includes subjects such as waves, tide pools, and sea urchins along with the Nudibranch, a lesser known sea creature. Instead of writing poems about what one might find in a tide pool or the magical colors of coral, Kate Coombs often writes her poems from the unique and quite imaginative perspective of each ocean swimmer and treasure.

Maybe, after reading this book, you will be inspired to write a poem about where you live, a favorite place you’ve visited, or something special you treasure. Try to include as many of your senses as possible. Some places have a distinct smell or sound. Some objects have a texture. And don’t forget taste in case what you are describing happens to be a jelly doughnut or other favorite treat. Remember, even though we don’t associate taste with the ocean, often, after spending a day playing on the sand and in the waves, a salty taste is often part of the memory.

And now for today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review.

Title – Water Sings Blue

Written by – Kate Coombs  

illustrated by  – Meilo So

Published by – Chronicle Books –  2012

Suitable for ages – 4-8

Topics – Ocean, poetry, and sea life

Opening –  

Push away from the stillness of the nut-brown land, from the road that leads to the shore.

Push away from the town with its tight tree roots, from its closed brown shutters and doors.

Push away–heave-ho–from the heavy brown pier, from its pilings huddled and dull.

For the water sings blue and the sky does, too, and the sea lets you fly like a gull.

Amazon Review –  View it HERE. Come down to the shore with this rich and vivid celebration of the ocean! With watercolors gorgeous enough to wade in by award-winning artist Meilo So and playful, moving poems by Kate Coombs, Water Sings Blue evokes the beauty and power, the depth and mystery, and the endless resonance of the sea.

Why do I like this book? Each time I open this book I’m transported to the ocean through the clever poems and thoughtful illustrations. Kate Coombs has a natural gift for putting herself into the mind of the ocean and its remarkable inhabitants. And Meilo So, a highly gifted illustrator, places the reader down in the depths of the ocean, on the sun-warmed beach, and inside of a cloud of octopus ink. Truly, this book is an amazing tour of ocean life.

Want to learn a little more about Kate Coombs? Click HERE.

Want to learn a little more about Meilo So? Click HERE.

Projects

Make a paper plate aquarium. Instructional video HERE.

How to fold an origami fish HERE.

Here’s a kid-friendly site with lots of fish craft ideas! HERE.

Perfect Picture Book Friday Looks at ‘Bear Hugs – romantically ridiculous animal rhymes’

If you were to ask my daughter if I’m much of a huggy person, she would offer you a rootbeer float and ask you to pull up a chair while she tells you exactly how much of a huggy person I am.

Me: Sweetheart, would you like to share any “Mommy hug stories” with my blog followers?

My daughter: Seriously? Permission to embarrass you? Woot!!!

Me: Easy does it, remember, I can still make your iPad disappear if you disclose too much…

 

My daughter: I’ll be nice. Promise. Ready? Here goes… There was the time when Daddy forgot to drag the garbage buckets out to the curb on time. When Mommy saw the truck leaving our court, she raced out and flagged it down. After the garbage man came back and emptied our buckets, Mommy gave him a thank you hug so big they almost fell into Mrs. Miller’s begonias across the street!”

Then, there was the time Mommy hurt her back pulling weeds right when the gardener showed up to mow our lawn. When he saw Mommy couldn’t move out of the flowerbed, he helped her into the house. Mommy’s back must have been feeling better just then because she gave him a thank you hug so big they almost tumbled back outside!

And then there was the time…”

Me: Okay, sweetheart, Mommy’s embarrassed enough, and my readers get the point. (You do don’t you?) Yes. I am a huggy person.

My daughter: Wait! Can’t I tell them about the time you hugged our neighbor because he…

Me: That story will have to wait because it’s time for me to introduce today’s book for Perfect Picture Book Friday – Bear Hugs!

Title – Bear Hugs – Romantically ridiculous animal rhymes

Written by  – Karma Wilson

Illustrated by – Suzanne Watts

Published by – Aladdin

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics – A collection of huggy, sweet, and romantic animal poems.

Opening – Since the Amazon review I included below is the opening poem in this book, I’ll offer you the second poem.

Pocket Full of Posies

A kangaroo hopped happily,

her pocket full of posies.

She gave her bouquet to a kanga-gent

who blushed from head to toes-ies.

Amazon Review –  View it HERE.

Rhino Mister and Rhino Miss

Gaze at the moon in rhino bliss.

They rub their rhino tusks like this.

And now you¹ve seen

Rhinocerkiss!

Why do I like this book? Honestly, when I read the title, the word ‘Hugs’ grabbed my attention.  I read and laughed my way through the clever, romantic animal poems, and knew I had to share this book with all of you for National Poetry Month. The author, Karma Wilson, knows how to title her poems to bring a smile like Pignic and Rhinocerkiss and Seal it with a Kiss. Clever poems plus kid-friendly illustrations make this book a must share this month.

Learn more about Karma Wilson HERE.

Learn more about Suzanne Watts HERE.

Perfect Picture Book Friday Looks at Pocket Poems

Perfect Picture Book Friday Looks at Pocket Poems for April’s National Poetry Month celebration!

When I was a child, I was introduced to poetry through my many picture books. Rhyming was a normal and natural way to tell an engaging story to children and continues to this day. I must confess that when I write picture book manuscripts, my poetry-trained ear from childhood kicks in, and I have to consciously force myself to write in prose. However, with Poem in Your Pocket Day nearing, I’m planning on releasing my inner poet and letting her rhyme to her heart’s content.

The 27th of April (this year – because the date in April changes each year) is National Poem in Your Pocket Day. Back in 2002, the Office of Mayor, in partnership with the New York City Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education added Poem in Your Pocket Day as a special day that is part of the city’s National Poetry Month celebration. Six years later, in 2008, the academy of American Poets took the initiative to all fifty United States. And eight years later, Canada joined the celebration in 2016.

To participate on April 27th, simply carry a poem in your pocket to share with others. This poem can be by your favorite poet, or it can be a poem you wrote. In addition to sharing your poem at work or at school, you are welcome to join others and post it on Twitter using the hashtag #pocketpoem.

And to offer some fun poems and possible poetic inspirations, I’d like to share a fun book with you in honor of Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Title – Pocket Poems

Poems selected by – Bobbi Katz

Illustrated by – Marylin Hafner

Published by – Dutton Children’s Books – 2004

Suitable for ages – 4-8

Theme – Poems on kid-friendly subjects and topics.

Opening –  Since this book is a compilation of poems, I’ll offer you the first poem in the book.

A Pocket Poem

With a poem in your pocket

and

a pocket in your pants

you can rock with new rhythms.

You can skip.

You can dance.

And wherever you go,

and whatever you do,

that poem in your pocket is going there, too.

You could misplace your homework.

You could lose your left shoe.

But that poem in your pocket will be part of you.

And nothing can take it.

And nothing can break it.

that poem in your pocket

becomes

part of…

YOU!

Bobbi Katz

Amazon Review – View it HERE.

This lively collection is packed with kid-friendly, “pocket-sized” poems of eight lines or less by such well-known poets as Eve Merriam, Karla Kuskin, and the anthologist herself, Bobbi Katz. The easy-to-memorize, pint-sized poems reflect many different facets of children’s lives and are embellished with witty, winning art by the beloved Marylin Hafner, making a package that will be welcomed by children and their teachers.

Why do I like this book? 

In addition to the lively, colorful, kid-friendly illustrations by Marylin Hafner, whose art includes imaginative and sometimes humorous touches kids will enjoy, the selection of poems by various poets, that were chosen byBobbi Katz, strongly speak to children. No matter the child, I’m sure there will be one poem, if not all 27, he or she will like (love).

Learn more about Bobbi Katz HERE.

Find more books illustrated by Marylin Hafner HERE.

A TEMPLATE FOR YOUR POCKET POEM – As an added incentive to write a poem of your own, I’m including a downloadable pdf file below.   So…

If you feel bold,

and you’re ready to rhyme,

jot down your poem.

You’ve got plenty of time!

Poem in Your Pocket Day

is three weeks away,

That’s more than enough

for you word rhyming play.

Pocket Poem Template

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday looks at the lovely poetry of Elaine Magliaro

My love of writing poems goes clear back to my childhood. And one of my favorite times to write poems was when I vacationed with my family. While my friends flew toward their summer destinations to relax at the beach or pool, my family traveled by car. I’m recalling the 70’s when air conditioning was optional and my parents never saw the need to spend money for something they could get for free by cranking down a window. Mom mapped out our itinerary, noting the places and attractions she and Dad wanted to see like caves, canyons, rivers, waterfalls, and statues. We’d load up our jeep, lay a scratchy wool blanket down to keep our legs from sticking to the vinyl seats, and head across the country for two weeks.

Mom encouraged me to journal about the sites on our vacations. Often, I wrote about our travels in rhyme. Every little thing along the way that caught my attention became immortalized in a poem: a rosy sunset, prairie dogs popping up in a field, a bird nesting in a cactus, tumbleweed moseying along the road…  This is why I was drawn to the picture book, THINGS TO DO. Elaine Magliaro chose a variety of simple topics for her poetry and, like the Orb Spider in her book, she wove a series of startling, surprising, and lovely poems for children to help them see the world in a fresh light.

Title – Things To Do

Written by – Elaine Magliaro

and illustrated by – Catia Chien

Published by – Chronicle Books – 2016

Suitable for ages – 3-8

Theme – Poetry on a broad range of subjects.

Opening – Things to do if you are DAWN. Shoo away night. Wash the eastern sky with light. Wake the sleeping sun: Rise and shine!

Amazon Review –  View it HERE. With playful prose and vivid art, Things to Do brings to life the small moments and secret joys of a child’s day. There are wonders everywhere. In the sky and on the ground—blooming in a flower bed, dangling from a silken thread, buzzing through the summer air—waiting …waiting to be found. In this thoughtful and ingenious collection of poems, Elaine Magliaro, an elementary school teacher for more than three decades and a school librarian for three years, and illustrator Catia Chien provide a luminous glimpse of the ordinary wonders all around us.

Why do I like this book? The poems are light, inventive, and fresh. I found myself smiling at the gentle humor and thoughtful word choices. Catia Chien’s illustrations reminded me of the simple illustrations in the picture books I loved as a child. Bursting with color and simplicity, her style will greatly appeal to children.

Learn more about Elaine Magliaro HERE.

Learn more about Catia Chien HERE.

Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

An exercise in writing poetry with children: Bring paper and pencils along on a walk and make a list of five or more things you see when you look up and five or more things you see when you look down.

Close your eyes and make a list of what you hear.

make a list of what you smell.

From your lists, select the one thing that interests you most.

write down words to describe it. (Color, texture, sound, movement…)

To find more descriptive words, imagine you are describing the item to someone who has never seen it before. What does it remind you of? What does it look similar to? What does it sound similar to? Can you compare its size to something else?

Using your new list of words, play at writing a poem.

PPBF Looks at What Kind Of Seeds Are These?

As I browsed for interesting picture books at my library, I spotted What Kinds Of Seeds Are These. I didn’t look to see who the author was but after reading the first page, I recognized the voice. I was holding a book by Heidi Bee Roemer. I took a poetry course with Heidi a number of years ago and was stunned at her critiques. Prior to taking her course, I was used to receiving a full page, professional critique on a picture book manuscript, but to receive a full page critique on a poem amazed me! Writing poetry is more than counting syllables and making sure your end words rhyme. What Kinds Of Seeds Are These? demonstrates this with brilliant clarity.

 

Title – What Kind Of Seeds Are These? – view on Amazon here.

Written by – Heidi Bee Roemer

Illustrated by – Olena Kassian

Published by – NorthWord Books for Young Readers, 2006

Suitable for ages – 4-8

Topics/theme  Nature, specifically seeds and how they travel.

Opening – Sees are floaters and fliers and buried-alivers, exploders and sticklers and hitchhiking tricksters. Seeds travel around in their clever disguises. There are billions of seeds–and they’re full of surprises!

Jacket copy  – The world is full of different kinds of plants, and that means the world is full of different kinds of seeds! Each one is unique, and each has a special way of getting where it needs to be to grow and bloom. Some have wings to fly on the wind, some stick like glue to passerby, and others take a detour right through an animal’s stomach! This delightful rhyming picture book tells the stories of nine different seeds in a fun-to-read riddle format. Gorgeously-detailed illustrations show each seed up close as well as the plant it belongs to. Kid-friendly  activities are included at the end to encourage  readers to sprout green thumbs of their own. From maple seeds to coconuts. What kinds of seeds are these? clues readers into the fascinating mysteries of seeds!

Amazon Review – A perfect companion to NorthWord’s WHAT DO ROOTS DO?, this spirited text enumerates in riddle form the many ways different kinds of seeds travel, whether by helicopter or rolling in the wind as a tumbleweed. Fun activities are included at the end to help readers discover the world of seeds up close. Gorgeous illustrations of seeds and plants and children enjoying them leap from the pages.

Why do I like this book? I appreciate clever rhymes, and clever rhymes mixed with a lively dose of education offers kids a painless, easy way to learn about a new topic. Heidi Bee Roemer is a master of clever rhymes, and when you combine her verses with Olena Kassian’s colorful, accurate watercolor and gouache renderings of nature, you have a picture book you want to add to your collection.

Author – Visit Heidi Bee Roemer’s blog here.

Illustrator – See more of Olena Kassian’s books here.

sprout

Seed Sprouting on a Sponge – Project For Children – Sprouting seeds on a sponge makes a fun and inexpensive nature project for children of all ages.

You’ll need…

  • A non-abrasive sponge – Green makes a good choice for this project
  • a packet of seeds such as broccoli, lettuce, or spinach
  • A spray bottle
  • a glass or plastic plate
  • a plastic container that is slightly larger than your sponge

Dampen the sponge. Then sprinkle seeds over the top of the sponge. Little fingers are the perfect tools for gently poking the seeds into the holes of the sponge. Place on a plate near a sunny window.  Remember to keep the sponge moist by spraying with water frequently so the seeds don’t dry out.  You could also cover the sponge with a clear plastic container to retain more moisture.

Visit Susanna Hill’s blog for more ‘Perfect Picture Book Friday’ reviews here.