Greetings, Poetry Lovers!
If you might indulge a few more trip pictures (with no promise that these are the last), I thought I'd share a brand new animal-themed book with a romping rhyme, and a general celebration of our non-human friends today. (Keep scrolling down after the post, if viewing on a computer, to see all of the animal pictures and the book cover at the bottom. IDs and locations are in the caption at the very bottom!)
Upon returning home from our amazing Scotland/Ireland family adventure this summer, I realized I had snapped several pictures of animals along with the castles and misty vistas. Of course, I thought to myself upon this discovery. My life has always been animal-centric, benefiting from a free-range childhood in the woods of Florida, and a lifetime of sharing life with the furred, feathered, hoofed, and scaled, and 30-plus years as a vegetarian.
On our first full day in Edinburgh, a pigeon came to call at our apartment window overlooking James Court. We exchanged pleasantries. I never thought conversing with birds was unusual, since I've done so since I was little, but my kids once gently let me know that not everyone goes around acting like Snow White in the forest scene in the original Disney movie. (Why not?)
This week I had a tête-à-tête with a broad-winged hawk (from a safe distance, yard to pine tree), letting it know that, No, I would not be putting my tiny Chihuahua back on the ground any time soon, thank you.
Anyway, as is my practice with close encounters of the animal variety, while in Scotland I looked up pigeon "spirit medicine" and found that it held perfect messages for the beginning of a trip that originated in vials sent off to Ancestry.com.
"As a totem, the pigeon teaches us to return to our roots and explore our heritage. … Pigeon also serves as a reminder that we come from a clan and are not alone."
And yay, books (especially ones with poetry!) which celebrate our fellow animals.
In 2011, it was my privilege to coordinate a children's poetry retreat with Rebecca Kai Dotlich for the SCBWI Southern Breeze region. Among our wonderful attendees was long-time member Lisa Lowe Stauffer Lisa's first book for children, TWO BY TWO, a board book by Zonderkids, has just been released!
On her website, Lisa mentioned our SCBWI poetry retreat and an assignment Rebecca gave everyone.
"TWO BY TWO started as a simple, steady poem about Noah's Ark," she writes, noting that the first lines haven't changed.
On the first colorful page we find animals entering the ark:
Two by two,
Board the boat.
Shut the door.
Time to float.
The monkeys become bored, however, and soon they want to do much more than float. In fact, they "free the zoo" so that all the animals can party like it's, well, a long long time ago, BC.
Illustrator Angelika Scudamore's bright and lively characters are appealing and full of expression. Young readers/listeners will have fun pointing out all the different animals on each spread. The trim size is a generous 8 X 8, perfect for sharing with a wee one in your lap. Here is another taste of the fun verse:
Tigers race in pairs.
Ring toss on
Pin the tail on bears!
Did I mention this was a FUN book? Congratulations, Lisa and Angelika!
Interestingly, another rhyming board book was born not too long after that poetry retreat. Prolific children's author Gail Langer Karwoski penned THANK YOU, TREES (Kar-Ben Publishing, a division of Lerner) – a terrific book to share with any inhabitant of the planet. (Here's my blog post about it.)
Other Poetry Friday regulars in attendance that weekend included Doraine Bennett and Irene Latham. (Did I miss any other PF folks?) Irene has written about LOTS of animals in her novels and picture books. Keep an eye out for LOVE, AGNES: POSTCARDS FROM AN OCTOPUS (Millbrook) coming soon to a bookshelf near you!
One last shout-out. While in Edinburgh, I got to catch up with my buddy Elizabeth Dulemba, and Jane Yolen joined us for lunch. (She and Elizabeth had a literary event together in Edinburgh that week.) Elizabeth blogged about our meet-up here. She also blogged about TWO BY TWO with an interview with Lisa and Angelika here.
Elizabeth has lent her rich artistic talents to a book written by Jane with her son, Adam Stemple. This wonderful new book from Cornell Lab Publishing Group, CROW, NOT CROW, debuts August 28. (Here is Jane's blog post about it, with peeks inside the pictures from Elizabeth here.)
I can't wait to add it to my bookshelf, right next to our Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's EVERYDAY BIRDS. Young and not-so-young readers who love birds will soon be crowing about CROW, NOT CROW!
Now, flap on over to Nix the Comfort Zone, where the Magnificent Molly has our Roundup. [What? MORE trip pix, you ask? Well, click on over to my new post at artsyletters for a bunch of "animals in images" (& other related curiosities) from our trip!]