Friday, April 30, 2010

Poetry month


Breezy, cool
Raining, greening, renewing
Rain-hats, robins, rabbits, roses
Warming, springing, flowering
Bright, clear

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Book 29

Book 29: Not a Box, by Antoinette Portis, HarperCollins Children's Books 2006

First of all, I love the "packaging" of this book. The cover looks like a parcel -- so cute and so clever.

Then there is the rabbit. "Not a Box" has drawn comparisons to "Harold and the Purple Crayon", another very good, buy-worthy book, but in some ways I prefer this book. Because of the rabbit. The rabbit is drawn in that deceptively simple way (rather like Mo Willems' pigeon), is nameless and gender-neutral. Any child can relate to the rabbit.

Recently, my seventeen-month-old son began to empty all the toys out of his toy box (and scatter the toys ALL over the family room floor) and then try to climb into the empty toy box. For his safety and my sanity, I had to move his toy box and set up an empty box in it's place. Now he climbs into the empty box. I remember doing this when I was very young. See, any child can relate to a rabbit with an imagination and an empty box.

The story and illustrations are easy-to-follow, toddler-simple. This book works great for story time with a large group of children, or story time with just one child.

*For other reviews, please see Books I Buy and Why

Poetry month

Question Quatrain (A, B, A, B)

What is the comfort of that knitted blanket?
Why do you cling to that blanket light blue?
I don’t know the reason, but I surely thank it
For all of the comfort it’s bringing to you

Why do you cling to that silly, soft monkey
Made by hand out of socks of chenille?
Its eyes are askew and its mouth’s a bit funky
Why should a simian have such appeal?

Why must you hear the story of Top Cat
Every night and every day?
The story you love; one thing can top that:
Watching Buster and Chloe at play

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Poetry month


There once was a toddler named Thomas
Who wore navy shuttle pajamas
He would dash, squeal and zoom
While circling the room
And then throw his great weight upon us

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Book 28

Book 28: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Joffe Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond

You cannot go wrong with any "If You Give..." book, but the first is my favorite. Numeroff's story is sweet and silly, funny and charming, but what really make this book so well-loved by so many children and adults is the magic that is Felicia Bond's illustration. The whole becomes greater than the parts when an excellent storyteller is teamed with an excellent illustrator.

I love this book, and fortunately, my toddler likes it, so I get to read it quite often.

*For other reviews, please see Books I Buy and Why

Poetry month


Noisy, smelly
Crying, babbling, laughing
Climbing, walking

Monday, April 26, 2010

Poetry month


Toddler, baby, little boy
Amused, happy, filled with joy
With his daddy has time to spend
But next Sunday, that time will end

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Poetry month

List (Grocery)

Laundry Detergent

Fabric Softener

Green Bag Cat Food





Frozen Peas

Peanut Butter

Cat Litter

Chocolate Chips

Chicken Cutlets

Cracker Sandwiches

Fresh Fruit

Ice Cream

Gift Card


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Poetry month


My husband returned home early
I was vacuuming the hallway
And didn’t hear the garage door
When he came through the laundry room

Thomas was so excited that
My husband returned home early
He was lunching on his crackers
But he lost interest in food

Sophie jumped in surprise and cried
And wanted to come in because
My husband returned home early
She couldn’t wait to play with him

My husband had gone into work
And planned to stay for seven hours
He could only think of home, so
My husband returned home early

Friday, April 23, 2010

Poetry month


Almost the mirror of etheree
Only this poem has nine lines
Of decreasing syllables
Until you end up with
Just one line of one
Syllable. It
Can be hard
To end

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Book 27

Book 27: I Love You, Little One, by Nancy Trafuri, Scholastic Press 1999 (board book)

With a title like this, you could hardly go wrong. And you won't with Nancy Trafuri's charming book.

I started reading this book to my toddler in September when he was about ten months old and inflicted with chickenpox (poor baby). This book reads like a gentle lullaby, with refrains and repeating lines within the verses. That mild undulation would calm him down before his naps. He also was quite taken with the sweet illustrations, especially the deer's and rabbit's eyes.

Because my son still is so taken with the drawings, he likes to pull this book off the shelf and "read" it himself. I'm quite glad I bought the book in board book form to stand up to his love.

*For other reviews, please see Books I Buy and Why

Poetry month


More days
Then I will
Have a husband
Again, at least for
A week, but no longer
Before he returns to his
New job, his temporary job
I miss him when he’s gone, but not as
Much as the boy crying himself to sleep

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Poetry month


On a wet and windy Wednesday, Thomas and me
(That’s we), went to the welcoming library
We went for the wonderful, weekly story time
We won’t be there tomorrow. Please don’t whine.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Poetry month

Acrostic – THOMAS

Tired and cranky,
Heavy and wiggly, and
Oh-so-ornery: What happened to

Monday, April 19, 2010

Book 26

Book 26: Many Moons, by James Thurber and illustrated by Louis Slobodkin, Voyager Books (Harcourt Brace & Company), 1991

Because Book 26 doubles the sad average of books owned per child, I wanted it to be a significant book. I first encountered Many Moons when it was read to me during a story time at school when I was about eight years old. Of course, at that age, I didn't bother thinking about who wrote the story, just whether I liked the story or not. And I did like the story. So much so, that it stayed with me for years. But, since I didn't learn at that first reading who wrote it, I couldn't rediscover it.

Then, when I was about eighteen, I discovered James Thurber's writings -- It was a natural progression from Dorothy Parker, to Robert Benchley, to James Thurber. And I loved his writing and accompanying illustrations. Sadly, I still did not connect The Cat Bird Seat with Many Moons.

About another ten years passed and this edition illustrated by Louis Slobodkin was released. The title seemed familiar, so I flipped though the book, and to my delight I found the lost story of my childhood. Happy day! It was like when I found out that Oscar Wilde wrote The Happy Prince. It was like finding an old friend. So, of course, I bought the book. And, although I have yet to read it to my young son, I have turned it into a play for the library. And it was quite good.

*For other reviews, please see Books I Buy and Why

Poetry Month

Two word poem

New Project

New book
Clean pages
New topic
New style
Sharpened pencils
Focused mind
Ready? Begin!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Poetry Month


Cranky baby
Clinging to me like Saran Wrap
Cranky baby
Won’t calm down to sit on my lap
Will not lie down to take his nap
If he does not stop soon, I’ll snap
Cranky baby

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Book 25

Book 25: One Nighttime Sea, written by Deborah Lee Rose, illustrated by Steve Jenkins, Scholastic Press 2003

In February, my toddler son visited an aquarium and loved it, so the following week, I checked this book out of the library. I thought it was just another ocean counting book. It is not.

The first half is pretty standard: whales, seals, turtles. The second half was quite unexpected and delightfully jarring: nudibranches, zebra moray, dragonfish. The dragonfish illustration was by far the most unsettling and by far my son's favorite. I'm not sure what that means, but he did really like the teeth.

Great, unusual choices for this ocean counting book, that are excellently matched by colorful, dimensional illustrations. Don't miss this one, especially if you have an ocean-entranced toddler like I have.

* For other reviews, please see Books I Buy and Why

Poetry month

Question Poem

What’s the matter?
What is wrong?
Do you want a story?
A dance? Or a song?
Why aren’t you sleeping?
Why are you crying?
Do you think I don’t care?
Do you think I’m not trying?
Don’t you know
That mommies need rest?
To be anywhere close
To their best?
Now that you have
Mastered walking
How soon before
You start talking?
Will it been soon?
Will it be long?
Before you can tell me
What’s the matter, what’s wrong?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Poetry month -- Found poetry

Found Poetry

Please read
Night sky

Do not attempt
Construction by
A fine point pencil.
Possible damage

Gently used
Always visible
All the stars

(I used planetarium set-up instructions)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Poem du jour

Terza Rima

Little boy is as tired as can be
He crawls right into a chair
And rams his poor little knee

Little boy waves his hands in the air
There were covered with food
Which is now in his hair

Little boy is not where he once stood
Because on the floor he does lie
And yells – This is not good

Little boy bops himself in the eye
Because he was angry with me
Now I hold him and let him cry

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Poetry month

Direction Poem
How to put a toddler to bed

Take a long walk around the neighborhood
Pulling the toddler in a wagon
Come home
Let the dog out
So the dog and toddler can play together
And tire each other out
Put the dog back in her room
Give the toddler a bath
Until all the bubbles have popped
And most of the water has been splashed out
Dry off the toddler
Let him brush his teeth
Sing while he brushes his teeth so he’ll know when to stop
Wrestle him into his pajamas
Read him three stories –
Any three you like –
As long as one is Top Cat
And the other is Good Night, Moon
Sing until you’re hoarse
Chase the “top cat” out of the room
Kiss the toddler goodnight
Wish the toddler goodnight
And pray he sleeps a good night
Now you’re ready for bed!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Book 24

Book 24: Animalia, by Graeme Base, published by Harry N. Adams, Inc., Publishers, New York 1986

This is one of those children's books that I bought long before I had a child. Pretty much as soon as I spied it in the library I knew I had to have it. It's a great book that works on so many levels. For one thing, it's gorgeous. It is hard not to admire the splendid illustrations, and it's even harder to put the book down. Then there is the wonderful, witty alliteration (yeah, I did that on purpose). But it is so clever and unexpected. This is not your standard alphabet book.

This book is a great read-aloud for story time with toddlers and preschoolers. School-age children to adults will enjoy hunting for objects beginning with the featured letter on each illustrated page -- kind of like an early I Spy book, only you have to identify the objects, not just find them.

Graeme Base spend three years working on this book and was a very young man when he did it. Not a second of his time was wasted.

*For other reviews, please see Books I Buy and Why

Poetry month

Rhyming Quatrain (no meter)

Rhyming Quatrain (no meter)

My husband has been gone sixteen days
Our side yard is ablaze
With purple flowers where Sophie likes to laze
And Thomas plays

Monday, April 12, 2010

Poetry Month -- Rhyming Metered Quatrain

Cat and the boy lie in a spot sunny
Cat took the mat: the boy chose the bunny
Curled like each other, they look too funny
They’re happy like that – I should save money

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Poetry month -- Non-rhyming Quatrain

Three nights with little sleep
Can dull the senses and drain creativity
But it shouldn’t be too hard to write four lines…
Or maybe it is

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Book 23

Book 23: The Owl and the Pussycat, written by Edward Lear and illustrated Jan Brett, GP Putnam's Sons 1991

There are many illustrated version of Edward Lear's The Owl and the Pussycat -- some are so breathtakingly gorgeous but lack the silliness of this story, some are cartoony and have no depth, and some are so deep they tread some very disturbing waters -- so far, though, this is my favorite version.

Jan Brett's illustrations, as always are colorful, well-rendered and quite lovely; and, as usual, somewhat jarring. That's what makes them so perfect for Edward Lear. Edward Lear's writings fall somewhere between Beatrix Potter and Hillaire Belloc.

On the surface, they are silly with a rhyming scheme pleasing to the ear. But scratch a little below that surface and there is something a little "off" in his work. All was not safe in Potter's world -- Peter Rabbit's father was turned into a stew -- but there was a happy ending for the protagonist. Reading Belloc can still give me nightmares. There is no safety in Lear's writing, no guarantee of a happy ending, but it is thought-inducing, not nightmare-inducing.

* For more reviews, please see Books I Buy and Why

Poetry month -- Triolet


It’s later and later when I sit down to write
The older the toddler, he takes up more time
After stories, songs and kissing goodnight
It’s later and later when I sit down to write
There’s a mountain of laundry to wash or to climb
And I must clean the house: it’s really a sight
It’s later and later when I sit down to write
The older the toddler, he takes up more time

Friday, April 9, 2010

Poetry month -- Fibonacci


I thought
That I was
At the end of a
Lengthy, time-eating project – But
I was wrong. After a week of intense work and some
Very lax housekeeping, I have finished. Break out the wine, the chocolate, the vacuum!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Poetry month -- Three word poem

Three Word Poem

hammer, phone, hello!
phone, hello!, daddy
hello!, daddy, laugh
daddy, laugh, talk
laugh, talk, miss
talk, miss, cry
miss, cry, goodbye

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Poetry month -- Free verse, repeating line

Free verse, repeating line

The boy in the shuttle pajamas
Runs and
Around the room
The boy in the shuttle pajamas
Gathers a blanket
Pacifer and
The boy in the shuttle pajamas
Chatters and
The boy in the shuttle pajamas
Reads to me
I read to
The boy in the shuttle pajamas
I hold
Kiss and
The boy in the shuttle pajamas
I whisper
Good night to
The boy in the shuttle pajamas
I love
The boy in the shuttle pajamas

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Poetry month -- Poem in Two Voices

Poem in Two Voices
Between My Husband and Me This Morning

Me: Good morning, honey! How did you sleep?


Me: You’re awfully quiet.


Me: Not even a peep?


Me: Oh, that’s right. It’s not fair.
I’m talking to you, and you’re not there.


Me: I’ll have to store up everything to say
Until we talk at the end of your day.


Me: It isn’t the same to talk on the phone.
I’d much rather talk to you at home.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Poetry month -- Revised nursery rhyme...

...Yeah, I know, that's pretty lame. I'll try to be more interesting tomorrow.

Brush, brush, brush the cats
Don’t go against their grain
Carefully, carefully, carefully, carefully –
Sharp claws can cause great pain

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Poetry month

Bunnies in the grass
Don’t leave chocolate eggs
Or painted eggs
Or really any eggs at all

Bunnies in the grass
Won’t stand at six feet
Or five feet
Or even over two feet tall

We don’t need trappings
Or straw basket wrappings
Or anything to say:
Happy Easter! today

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Poetry month -- Tanka

Little boy moves fast
Already he charms females
From babes to women
Not one can resist his grin
Not one is safe from his charm

Friday, April 2, 2010

Book 22

Book 22: How Will We Get to the Beach?, written by Brigette Luciani, illustrated by Eve Tharlet, North-South Books 2000

I just love Roxanne in this book. She is so scattered, a bit disheveled and, yet, so chic and quintessentially French. Alas, despite my French middle name, I am only scattered and disheveled. When I go to the beach, I, like Roxanne, take along five items. We have one item in common -- the little boy -- but then my list becomes quite prosaic, with items like suntan lotion, snacks, towels and a pail. Her list is much more interestingly and logistically challenging.

It's great fun to see her different modes of transportation and to see which item cannot go to the beach with her for each mode. The illustrations only add to the fun. Happily, she does make it to the beach with all five items and has a wonderful time.

* For other reviews, please see Book I Buy and Why

poetry month -- haiku

Tiny tornado
Tears up the family room –
I call him “Thomas”

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Poem du jour

I told my husband
I set up the pool
He said: Are you crazy?
I said: April fool!