Poetry Friday: Poultry Poetry

h1 July 2nd, 2010 by jules

“RECESS: There are chickens on the playground, / but none are satisfied. /
They must keep running back and forth / to reach the other slide.”

(Click to enlarge spread.)

BAH-DUM-CHING, my friends!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted for Poetry Friday, and today I’m gettin’ goofy with George Shannon’s and Lynn Brunelle’s Chicken Scratches: Poultry Poetry and Rooster Rhymes (Chronicle Books, March 2010). It’s illustrated by Scott Menchin, whose work I’ve yet to feature here at the ‘ol blawg.

So, these poems, which never really miss a beat (in more ways than one, though I initially meant in terms of meter), are pure silliness. But what I love is the sort of demented, quirky, even almost dark notes some of them strike (very subtly); you know I like my demented picture books. Again, this is mostly light-hearted whimsy you get here, but then there’s the Halloween poem with the chick who shows up at someone’s door as a deviled egg (heh) and the “Sick Day” poem in which a rooster with the flu is told by a visiting doctor to drink his bowl of chicken soup: “Drink up…It’s good for you. I promise it’s no one you knew.” Publishers Weekly calls all this “occasionally edgy” and “off-kilter,” and School Library Journal refers to the humor as “somewhat irreverent.”

There are a wide variety of poems here, too, and Menchin’s illustrations—rendered in pen and colored digitally—are the perfect complement to the book’s rather spastic, spirited humor. (“Punny and snappy” is how Kirkus puts it.) I mean, check out that opening poem, “Recess.” Gotta love it.

And, fortunately, I’ve got some art from the book to share with you today, so I can let the illustrations do the talking. Here are some more poems from the title. Happy Poetry Friday, and enjoy…

P.S. I love the disgruntled chick of “Make a Wish” below…

“HULA ZELDA: Hula Zelda was a dancer. / Brother! Could she shimmy! / Up and down, she’d twist around / and wiggle every limb-y. / She put the wow in luau / as she hula-ed through each night. / And when she clucked ALOHA / roosters crowed in sheer delight. / She loved the island rhythms / so much it sometimes hurt. / ‘Cause every egg that Zelda laid / came wearing a grass skirt.”
(Click to enlarge spread.)

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Note: Amy at The Poem Farm is hosting the Poetry Friday round-up today.

CHICKEN SCRATCHES: POULTRY POETRY AND ROOSTER RHYMES. Copyright © 2010 by George Shannon and Lynn Brunelle. Illustration copyright © 2010 Scott Menchin. Published by Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

9 comments to “Poetry Friday: Poultry Poetry”

  1. Thanks for sharing this–I caught a glimpse of it at ALA and it’s on my TBR list now. And thanks for the link to your Slightly Demented Picture Books post. Going back to that for a full read soon. I’m working on a dark picture book right now:>) Fun factor – 10. Salability – ?

  2. Jules,

    This sounds like my kind of poultry/poetry book. I like irreverent and off-kilter! Got to get me a copy. Thanks for the review.

    Happy Fourth!!!!!

  3. I am definitely looking for this book! Very silly and marvelous! Thanks for posting!

  4. Sounds like my kind of book! Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll look for it at the library.

  5. I’m totally digging those puns, and the illustrations are great. Thanks for not only sharing this great book, but our whole list of slightly demented picture books. You can bet that’s where I’m going next. 🙂

  6. We have chickens, and I’ve got to get this one. Thank you for CRACKING me UP!

  7. I also saw this at ALA and am coveting it. Can’t ever have too many chicken puns…especially with a last name that means rooster in German!!!!

  8. “She put the wow in luau” and — the shot of the Sumo wide-load chicken butt: Ha! ha! ha! ha!

    Jules thanks for linking to your and Adrienne’s demented picture book blog of yester-year. Twas a great one.

  9. I too adore this book! George Shannon is just a great children’s author and with his experience as a librarian he KNOWS what they like. I can’t stop cackling over the hen with the egg in her tights or Hula Zelda with the coconut cups! Love it! What a great gift book for the little ones on your list!

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