Poetry Friday: Five poetry-related lovelies
(in which I can’t help but look like an overachiever, but hey,
keep reading and you’ll see why)

h1 March 30th, 2007 by jules

{Note: This week’s Poetry Friday round-up is here at Chicken Spaghetti} . . .

Yes, why o why, you wonder, would I want to be insufferably overachieving by including five poetry-related items in my Poetry Friday post today? Because, frankly, we’ve been working so hard on interviews here at 7-Imp (which we love, don’t get me wrong) that, as a result, I feel like I’m behind on reviewing books and poetry. So, I’m going to catch up a bit in this post — but try my best to keep it as short as possible. Here goes:

  1. Comics and Poetry Sittin’ in a Tree . . .

    I’ve always enjoyed The Poetry Foundation’s site, but a blogger friend recently steered me towards it again as we were discussing the children’s section of the site. And, while exploring, I found the new Poem as Comic Strip series. Check out this excerpt from the series:

    Heightened language—one possible or partial definition of poetry—isn’t the first thing one associates with comics. Yet comic book artists take into account the way words appear on the page to a degree poets will find familiar. How many lines should accompany each image? How high should the dialogue balloon float? The ratio of printed words to blank space plays a role in whether a poem or strip succeeds.

    So, “{a}s a way to help readers discover (or rediscover) our archive, poetryfoundation.org has invited some of today’s most vital graphic novelists to interpret a poem of their choice from the more than 4,500 poems in our archive, reaching from Beowulf to the present.” Neat, huh? First off was David Heatley’s rendering of the first two stanzas of Diane Wakoski’s 1966 poem “Belly Dancer.” And the second, most recent, one is here: Gabrielle Bell’s take on Emily Dickinson’s “It was not death, for I stood up.”

  2. Shoe Baby and the Long Nose Puppets

    It’s funny how things work out. A few weeks ago, I randomly picked up a copy of Shoe Baby (2005, Candlewick Press) by Joyce Dunbar (who has written over seventy books for children) and illustrated by her daughter, Polly Dunbar. I’d seen some of Polly’s work before (I love 2004’s Dog Blue, also published by Candlewick, so much that I think I just might want to marry it, and — to boot — it’s wonderfully reminiscent of Sendak’s early work, while at the same time being All Polly), but I hadn’t seen Shoe Baby — and I loved it. As Publishers Weekly put it quite well, it’s a fun “nursery rhyme-style romp . . .” For this reason, I had wanted to highlight it for a Poetry Friday (being a book-in-rhyme, that is), so consider it done. I highly recommend this book with Polly’s colorful and whimsical and detailed mixed media illustrations. And speaking of Sendak again, there’s something about Shoe Baby’s text that is a Sendak-ian theme at its very core: The child who sails off and flies away in the shoe has not only fled from his parents but has no fear, much like many of Sendak’s child protagonists, but then it’s the parents who fear for the child (and the shoe) and who need the comforting. (Oh and shoe fans will particularly enjoy Dunbar’s wide array of inviting shoes).

    But, there’s more. I must add — in the name of my great love for good children’s theatre — that the book has been adapted to the stage in the form of a children’s theatre puppet production (“A fantastical sing-a-long adventure with a baby who takes to the sea, the air, the zoo all in a shoe!”) via the Long Nose Puppets, a puppet company set up by Polly and Katherine Morton, puppeteer/illustrator. This is running in England, mind you. Not here. Wah. And get this: Music for the show was created by Tom Gray of Gomez. Gomez, people. (Eisha and I are big Gomez fans). I WANT TO SEE IT. Wah again. (Good news, though: A CD seems to be available for purchase. I’ll have to contact Long Nose about that, ’cause, wow . . . just wow. Gomez. I’m impressed).

    {And I must thank Just One More Book!! (JOMB). I had read about the Long Nose Puppets before, but it wasn’t ’til I read this post at JOMB — in which they talk to Joyce, who is deaf (who knew?), about children’s lit’s inclusion and portrayal of children who are disabled — that I was re-directed to Joyce’s site and discovered the fact that Shoe Baby was adapted to the stage and currently on tour — and right when I happened to have the book out from the library. Excellent. Thanks to JOMB, as always, for their interesting interviews and reviews}.

  3. Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Moon”

    In my continuing effort to review some books from last year that I missed, I’d like to mention Tracey Campbell Pearson’s picture book adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem, “The Moon” (August 2006; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; my source: library copy), which originally appeared in A Child’s Garden of Verses in 1885. Author/illustrator Pearson is prolific, having written and illustrated a handful of picture books (including what she calls “early picture books”); illustrated seven picture books; illustrated four Mother Goose board books; illustrated chapter books; illustrated Joan Lowrey Nixon’s Claude and Shirley series; and more. If you’ve never read the droll Bob (2002, Farrar, Straus and Giroux), which makes for a great read-loud, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. So, yup, back to The Moon: Pearson has crafted, through her watercolor and ink illustrations, an engaging story of a father and young son heading out for a boat ride at night-time, thus observing the wonders of a quiet night alive with mystery and wonder. How did I miss this last year? The visuals of family members discovering the world at night and then heading back to their cozy home are a fitting tribute to Stevenson’s three-stanza poem.

  4. Noticing

    Also in the name of rhyming picture book texts on this Poetry Friday . . . I finally read author and fellow blogger Liz Scanlon’s A Sock Is a Pocket for Your Toes (March 2004; HarperCollins; my source: library copy), which is a lively tribute to imaginative thinking {and did you know that in Kirkus‘ review of the book, this was written: “Tucked in with the closing thought that hearts are pockets full of love, the children at last snuggle into their beds-leaving young readers and listeners seeing their own worlds in a new way, and primed for Ruth Krauss’s antediluvian, but still mind-expanding A Hole Is to Dig (1952).” Wow. What an impressive thing — to be compared to Krauss with your first published book}. And, while I was visiting Liz’s blog today, I was led to this great post, “The Noticers” (from last month), in which Liz shares some rich thoughts on modern early childhood education and the importance of “awareness, perception, taking note . . . {of} a time for absorption, for paying very close attention.” But she also shares some wonderful and creative “pocket” one-liners from kindergarteners from schools she has visited as an author (you just can’t beat “the past is a pocket for a dragon” and “a tree is a pocket for a scared cat.” Oh, they’re all good. Just go visit her blog!) . . .

  5. My Favorite New Slapstick Duck

    So, Jez Alborough’s bumbling Duck character really isn’t all that new, actually. There are three previous Duck books (seen here), and this title, Fix-It Duck, was first published in Great Britain by HarperCollins in 2001. This is the first American Edition, brought to us by Kane/Miller, and in a sturdy board book version. The text is addictively sing-songy (“Plop! goes the drip that drops in the cup. Duck looks down and Duck looks up. ‘A leak in the roof. Oh, what bad luck! This is a job for . . . FIX-IT DUCK'”), written — as you can see — in rhyming couplets. Those Who Notice (see above entry!) will see that the bath from which he’s walking away is full and with the faucet still running. Hence, his leak, of course. Our blundering, pratfall protagonist heads off to Sheep’s to borrow a ladder, breaks his trailer home window wide open while trying to fix a leak for him (Jerry-Rig is his middle name, it seems), manages to ruin Sheep’s tire as they’re trying to hook his jeep up for a ride to some place dry, and . . . well, the poor guy means well, but he’s always leaving a giant mess in his wake and (speaking again of the act of noticing) is always clueless to his surroundings. It’s great fun, and Alborough’s illustrations sometimes bleed to the very edges, full-spread, but are mostly brought to us in panels placed close to one another — the double page spread of Sheep’s house-on-wheels flying into the lake with a big “SPLASH!” being a particularly jaunty and dramatic and hilarious one. This animated romp of a story would serve as a fabulous read-aloud, particularly for preschoolers . . . {my source: review copy}.

Did I manage to keep it sufficiently short? Thanks for letting me get caught up on some reviews and such today. Happy Poetry Friday to one and all . . .

6 comments to “Poetry Friday: Five poetry-related lovelies
(in which I can’t help but look like an overachiever, but hey,
keep reading and you’ll see why)

  1. Thanks for the great list of books. The Moon looks esepcially interesting.

  2. Blushing big time over here. Blushing and swooning. Thank you for the great big ol’ tip o’ the hat, Jules. YOU are a noticer…

  3. Excellent post, J. Brava! I also just discovered The Moon, and it is all that. And I’ve long been a fan of Alborough’s Duck. I think Duck in a Truck is utterly perfect.

  4. […] by HarperCollins. You can read here what the critics had to say about it (and Jules’ thoughts here), but suffice it to say that it must be pretty great to have your first published picture book […]

  5. How to Backup PlayStation2 Games on cd???
    Pls, help me!

  6. […] Glasser (HarperCollins)—is a writer I like to follow. A Sock is a Pocket…, as I wrote here at 7-Imp back in 2007, is a lively tribute to imaginative thinking. And when Kirkus Reviews, in […]

Leave a Comment

Should you have trouble posting, please contact sevenimp_blaine@blaine.org. Thanks.