Friday, February 29, 2008

Poetry Friday

I have two great selections for you all today! I really enjoyed both of these books and feel that each has it's own unique characteristics that will appeal to a variety of age levels.

First, The Seldom-Ever-Shady-Glades, written by Sue Van Wassenhove is an incredible book. Not only are the poems fantastic, both in their cute rhyming manner and their teaching technique, but the book is illustrated with the author's quilts. Each poem is set on a background of what at first may look like a beautiful watercolor, but is in fact an amazing quilt.

My favorite poem in the book is "Below the Keys' Seas," which also happens to showcase my favorite quilt in the book as well. Here is the beginning of the poem, showing the creativity of Van Wassenhove:

The Florida Keys
grow canopies
of mangrove trees
for manatees.

And Portuguese
sea men-of-war
patrol the shore.
Oh, don't you wish
moon jellyfish
had jelly bellies?
Weren't so smelly?
Had no stringy
things that sting?

And that's just a short sampling of that poem. The words in all the poems tell a rhythmic story about the Everglades and the magic that takes place within that vast area in Florida. They're fun and educational poems, very important for growing minds! Besides the great poems, parents and kids alike will love the quilts! I really had a lot of fun with this book. I also have a personal connection with the Everglades, growing up knowing how much my father loved it there and then spreading his ashes with the crocodiles in the swamps after he passed away. This book will be great way to not only teach my child about the greatness of the Everglades, but also about his grandpa.

The next book I want to share with you is Barefoot: Poems for Naked Feet by Stefi Weisburd, illustrated by Lori McElrath-Eslick. The most stand-out part of this book is definitely the illustrations, though the poems come a close second. Each poem features a different aspect of enjoying barefeet and saying NO to shoes...which if you know me, is a huge thing with me. I hate shoes! My favorite out of this book is entitled "Bathtub."

two puckered old men
splash out and totter
trailing beards of water
I almost don't recognize
my toes
in disguise
squinting at me
with Grandpa's eyes

I would definitely recommend this book towards a slightly older crowd, only because it lacks the "cuteness" I think poems need for younger children. If they don't rhyme or have a certain silliness, I've found the young kids at the library aren't interested. Older kids, however will love the poems and of course, the beautiful illustrations.

In both these books you can definitely see the passion the authors have for the topics they've chosen. I would love to interview Stefi Weisurd to see if she hates wearing shoes as much as I do! I would also greatly enjoy chatting about the beautiful quilts in Van Wassenhove's book, as I've always loved quilts (hence the name of my blog) and though I still haven't learned how to do it, talking with someone as talented a writer and quilter as she, would be an honor!

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