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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Five Rollicking Rhymes: National Poetry Month Goes Out With a Bang!

Poem-Mobiles   Crazy Car Poems by J. Patrick Lewis and Douglas Florian, Illustrated by Jeremy Holmes

      High-Heel Car

"There was an old woman
  Who lived in high heels
  She loved one so much
  That she gave it three wheels...."

This high energy compilation of 21 crazy car poems is more fun than a barrel full of Hot Dog Cars that run on sauerkraut.  From the Giant Bookmobile of Tomorrow, to the Banana Split Car, to the Sloppy-Floppy-Nonstop Jalopy and everything in between, there is something to drive everyone crazy!
The short, eight-or-so-line poems are accompanied with such lush and vibrant illustrations that it will take you twice as long after reading the ditty to find all of the visual treats included by Holmes.  I highly recommend taking these hilarious vehicles out for a spin.

Water Sings Blue  Ocean Poems by Kate Coombs, illustrated by Meilo So

This beautifully illustrated trip to the shore, and more, was published two years ago, and worth the watercolor look.  Readers are transported from the beach tide pool, to the driftwood washed ashore, to octopus ink, down below to a shipwreck.  There are poems about coral, sharks, sea urchins and even a nudibranch?  I had no idea what this cute little sea snail was until I picked up this seaside delight.  Lyrical, lilting and even silly, this is a book for when you can't make it to the beach...or want to remember just what it's like to be there.

    Not Really Jelly

"You're not really jelly,
  You're not really fish -
  You're free -floating noodles
  all slither and jiggle
  and tremble and squish..."

Mama built a little nest     by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Another artistic delight with darling four line rhymed verse descriptions of mother, and father birds building nests.  Each page tells us where Mama built her nest - upon a craggy ledge, on the ground, inside a sturdy trunk, on the pond, as well as, with what?  "Walls of moss and roof of sky," entirely of mud, within an old tree's hollow, with spit even!  The large double page illustrations capture the nest-building bird, though unnamed, while on the facing right hand page in smaller font, a brief sentence description tells us exactly who we have seen.

Hi, Koo!  A Year of Seasons   by Jon J. Muth

Muth begins Hi, Koo! with a brief history of haiku, its translations, and his own desire to not adhere so rigidly to its structure.  Then panda and two friends start to fall through fall:

                                                   Dance through cold rain
                                                           then go home
                                                             to hot soup

                                                       Morning crocuses!
                                                           Winter is old now
                                                               and closes her doors

Nine poems with watercolor illustrations showcase each season, showing less, where syllables are concerned, is definitely more.

Some Bugs   words by Angela DiTerlizzi, bugs by Brendan Wenzel

With spare text and big bugs to tell the story, we learn that some bugs sting, some bite, some stink, some fight.  They also flutter, crawl, glide, swim, hunt, build and....you'll have to read yourself to find out every single rhyming thing that bugs do.  Cartoony but clear and accurate illustrations show us who does what.  At the end the observer is encouraged to find all of these bugs 'in your own backyard.'  Close the book and get outside! But a handy final double paged spread simply labeling each bug from the text will help put a name to who's who. 

Submitted by Andrea Perry

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