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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday: Charles Ghigna' s Wild Side


Welcome, Poetry Friday Fans!

Today we have a special treat -
Charles Ghigna, a.k.a. Father Goose®, is in the house!

You’ll find his name on the spines of more than 100 award-winning books from publishers such as Random House, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Abrams, Boyds Mills Press, Charlesbridge, Capstone, and Orca, and as a byline on more than 5000 poems in anthologies, textbooks, newspapers, and magazines - including Highlights, Cricket, The New Yorker and many more. Though he gallivants all over connecting kids and poetry, we’re happy to claim him here in the South, as he makes his home in Alabama.

This month we’re celebrating some fun new animal books running wild – just in time for any critter-crazed kids on your holiday gift list.

Just out from Animal Planet, Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool Animals is sure to please any budding zoologists or simply curious kids.

“The target audience is ages 8-12, but we think ALL ages will like this one” Charles says. “It's 128 pages chock full of stunning close-up photos by some of the world's top nature photographers! You will see creatures from the bottom of the world's deepest oceans to the uninhabited jungles of the Amazon. Many of the animals have only recently been discovered!”

I’m in!

Click here for a peek inside.
Charles has kindly shared the poems introducing each section.



Strange

Strange how we as humans
View creatures great and small—
For we who see their strangeness
Are the strangest ones of all!


Unusual

Unusual is what we call
The weird, the fast, the rare.
We classify each creature—
But do they really care?


Gross

Gross is used instead of yuck
For words like poop and pus,
But all these animals agree—
It's only gross to us!


Cool

Cool is how we think we look
When we try to impress,
But animals are born that way—
With lots of cool finesse!


Poems ©Charles Ghigna. All rights reserved.


Need some animal-friendly titles for the younger set? Check out Charles’s recent books from Orca Books, A Carnival of Cats(2015) and A Parade of Puppies(released in August), both illustrated by Kristi Bridgeman. These interactive board books feature rhyming texts that playfully invite young readers to guess what kind of dogs/cats are hiding on the pages. Wag, wag!


Now, how about an Extra Credit Q & A with Charles?


If you were an animal, what animal would you be & why?

An Arctic Whale. It can live for more than 200 years. That would give me a little more time to write a few more books and poems!

What's the coolest animal you've ever seen in person?

Our Golden Retriever, Honey. She was a loving, loyal, smart companion. She used to follow me up here to my treehouse and sit beside while I wrote, then follow me down the stairs for coffee breaks -- and treats.

Whenever I'd lie on the floor to do a few sit-ups, she would lie down beside me on her back.

She had quite a vocabulary. She understood words like "walk, car, food, go, stop, sit, stay -- and pizza!" We used to spell those words when she was in the room to keep her from running to the backdoor to get in the "car" or run to the front door for a "walk" -- or when we ordered "pizza." ;-)


Is your Muse diurnal or nocturnal?

I guess I'd have to say both. She's been good to me day and night. I often write late at night and into the wee hours of the morning. So far she's been a very accommodating companion.

Are you a dog person or cat person? (Or, like me, unabashedly both?)

I'm like you. I'm unabashedly both. I love dogs -- and admire cats! ;-)
My first two books and my last two books are about dogs and cats. My first books from Disney were GOOD DOGS BAD DOGS and GOOD CATS BAD CATS and a couple of my latest books are A CARNIVAL OF CATS and A PARADE OF PUPPIES.


Do you currently belong to any pets?

Yes, but not in the house. My "pets" now are all free range pets: a hawk that lives in a nearby tree and circles over the treehouse each day to say hello, multitude of squirrels and chipmunks I watch from my window, and two jeweled hummingbirds I'm watching right now at the feeder.

I would add the menagerie of monarchs that have been dancing outside my window this summer, but it looks like most of them have already started heading to their vacation homes farther south.


You mentioned "treehouse" again - do you really work in a treehouse?

Yes, I do. It's the treehouse-looking attic of my home, a 1927 red brick Tudor cottage here in Homewood, Alabama.

That is just wonderful. Thanks for visiting with us today! [Pssst – want a peek at the treehouse? Click here for a 2009 video tour created by the Homewood Library.]

The wonderful Tricia is rounding up for us this week at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

[I’m gallivanting myself for Family Weekend at Seth’s college and then a week of school visits near Atlanta – will check in when I can from the Peach State!]
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