Now I don't know that this would completely count for a Poetry Friday entry, as it's not 100% poems, but close enough. The format of Helen Frost's book for middle graders is ingenious... and one that I have never seen in any piece of writing before. The story is incredibly touching and unique, allowing the reader to gain knowledge about a unique culture as well as a beautifully written, entertaining plot.
Each poetic piece in Diamond Willow is literally written in the shape of a diamond and tells the story of a 12 year old girl living in a small town in Alaska that has an incredible bond with her family's sled dogs. She longs to take the dogs on a short trip, alone, to her grandparents house, but her parents feel she is too young to make the journey with only herself and the dogs. After some convincing, they allow her to go, but the consequence of a simple mistake along the way are tragic.
Though my format tool doesn't want to let me put this in a diamond shape, I wanted to share my favorite poem in the book...
What I love about dogs: They don't talk behind your back. If they're mad at you, they bark a couple times and get it over with. It's true they slobber on you sometimes. (I'm glad people don't do that.) They jump out and scare you in the dark. (I know, I should say me, not "you"-some people aren't afraid of anything.) But dogs don't make fun of you. They don't hit you in the back of your neck with an ice-covered snowball, and if they did, and it made you cry, all their friends wouldn't stand there laughing at you. (Me.)
Little hidden messages are included in each diamond shaped poem, in bold lettering, lending even more to the story and the emotions of Willow. I was SO impressed with this short little book and can see why so many other bloggers are loving it. This would make a great selection for a kid that loves animals or just as a nice, entertaining read. Display it during poetry month, it's worth it!
If you're interested in learning more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.