Poetry Friday: I’ve got the Cybil Bug

h1 November 10th, 2006 by eisha

*{Note: Visit Journey Woman for this week’s Poetry Friday round-up} . . .

Howdy, strangers.  I know, it’s been a while.  As Julie mentioned, I’ve been kinda busy with school lately, and haven’t been posting nearly as often as I’d like to.  But thanks to Mistress Cybil, I’ve definitely been reading a LOT of excellent poetry for children.  I thought I’d use my share of the Poetry Fridays to highlight some of the nominees that I’ve been especially tickled about.  For example:

Hey There, Stink Bug!Hey There, Stink Bug!  by Leslie Bulion, illustrated by Leslie Evans.  This book is a complete package – excellent linoleum block-and-watercolor illustrations (love them, LOVE THEM!!!); clever, fun, and largely read-out-loud-able poetry; and fascinating facts about insects sure to please the budding entomologist, or anyone who likes trivia of the gross-out variety.  For example, did you know that aphids reproduce asexually, and already have new live aphids developing inside them when they’re born?!?  And that skipper caterpillars can “force-fire” their own poop over three feet away?!?  Dude… that’s just nasty.

Here’s a swallowtail butterfly’s “Advice to a Caterpillar,” a limerick (with a sly Alice reference for a title?) that also explains the swallowtail caterpillar’s, um… unusual appearance:

Said the swallowtail, “Kid, here’s the scoop:

That ravenous robin’s a snoop.

Once you pupate you’ll be

quite as dazzling as me,

but for now just pretend you’re bird poop.”

Each poem highlights a different bug, and is followed by notes describing the insect and whatever trait the poem highlights.  Also included are a glossary (no pronunciation guide, though), a guide to the various poetic forms used (a wide range – sonnet, cinquain, haiku, tanka, free verse…), and a list of web and print resources, for the curious and inspired.

The compact size (about the same as a beginning reader) and occasionally complex vocabulary (glossary notwithstanding) make this best suited for the middle-grader, although it could certainly go younger for readalouds.  Not to mention adults – every grown-up I’ve shown it to got a kick out of it, and learned something to boot.  As did I.

So thanks, Leslie Bulion and Leslie Evans, for an excellent collaboration;  thanks to Charlesbridge for the review copy, and thanks to Debbie for nominating it for a Cybils Poetry award.  And if you haven’t nominated your favorite book of children’s or young adult poetry for 2006, there’s still time!  Go now!

6 comments to “Poetry Friday: I’ve got the Cybil Bug”

  1. I’m on round-up this week. Got ya!

  2. Thanks, E! Sounds excellent.

    Speaking of poetry and one of our recent Poetry Friday choices, my new ‘Horn Book’ arrived in the mail yesterday (always a good mail day when that happens), and there’s a new bio of E.E. Cummings, aimed at middle and high schoolers, by Catherine Reef. Was well-reviewed. I’ll have to add it to my list.

    And, go Nancy, who is so on top of things!

  3. I suspected we might like Stinkbug, and once you said ‘dude that’s just nasty,’ I knew this one would be perfect for my 7-yr.-old son. I requested it from the library. Thanks, Eisha!

  4. Thanks for catching us, Nancy. And Susan, I don’t think your son (or you) will be disappointed. And thanks, J, for the rec – I’ll look for that too.

  5. I’m so glad to see that you have reviewed this, Eisha! It really is a wonderful combination of poetry and information, in a nicely illustrated & designed package. I also love that it might attract some children who might not otherwise read poetry.

  6. I agree, Debbie – it’s got a lot of appeal on a lot of fronts, and could be just the thing for the resistant-to-poetry reader.

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