Sunday, April 3, 2016

April is National Poetry Month...

... so check out some of our novels in verse and rhyming picture books. (Reviews from Horn Book, School Library Journal, and publishers)

You can't go wrong reading a book by Dr. Seuss - there are more than 40 of 'em on the shelves (though not all of them are in rhyme).

And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street is his first book, written more than 75 years ago. The character, Marco, watches a horse and wagon go by, then concocts an entire cast of characters that would make Mulberry Street the most interesting location in town. 

The Cat in the Hat
Or perhaps you'd like a story that reveals the sort of adventures one could have on a rainy "there's nothing to do" day. One thing about the Cat - there's never a boring moment when he's around. Just make sure the fish are safe and the laundry's hidden.

I ain't gonna paint no more! by Karen Beaumont is so fun you might find yourself singing along. When Mama catches her son "paintin' pictures on the floor/and the ceiling/and the walls/and the curtains/and the door," she sticks him in the tub and declares, "Ya ain't a-gonna paint no more!" 

 Fresh from his bath, the child rescues his hidden supplies and says, "So I take some red/and I paint my-/HEAD!" The rhyme moves from neck down to feet as the boy adds gobs of color to different areas. Since the last word of each verse comes on the following page, readers get the satisfaction of completing the anticipated rhyme and seeing each newly painted body part with each page turn. Just when you think he's painted everything, he says, "But I'm such a nut,/gonna paint my...WHAT?!" Fortunately, he's out of supplies

Tyrannosaurus Wrecks! by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
All is peace and harmony in the dinosaur classroom, except for one member with a frustrating self-control issue. "Apatosaurus colors. Pteranodon inspects. Velociraptor glitters. Tyrannosaurus...WRECKS!" Tension builds as Tyrannosaurus interrupts, breaks, and disrupts, until the other students band together to exile the disruptive dino. Later a sad and lonely Tyrannosaurus gets an opportunity to redeem himself.   

Words with wings is a novel-in-verse by Nikki Grimes.
Gabby daydreams to tune out her parents' arguments, but when her parents divorce and she begins a new school, daydreaming gets her into trouble. 
Her mother scolds her for it, her teacher keeps telling her to pay attention, and the other kids tease her...until she finds a friend who also daydreams and her teacher decides to work a daydreaming-writing session into every school day. With a notebook "thick with daydreams," Gabby grows more confident about herself and her future. This verse novel poignantly celebrates the power of writing and the inspiration a good teacher can deliver.

Where I live is written by Eileen Spinelli. Diana, her main character, is precocious. She loves astronomy, poetry, and sleepovers with her best friend, Rose. 
She's content with the way things are: her sun poem won the school contest, she is painting her room midnight blue to go with her star charts, and a bird family has made a nest in a wreath on the front door of her house. She even enjoys her little sister, Twink, who can be pesky at times, gets itchy on long car rides, and manages to get covered in midnight blue paint. Then, Diana gets bad news: her dad has lost his job, and they're moving six hours away to live with Grandpa Joe. She must say goodbye to her old home and to her best friend.