Sunday, August 15, 2004
The Blood-Hungry Spleen and Other Poems About Our Parts
Wolf, Allan. 2003. THE BLOOD-HUNGRY SPLEEN AND OTHER POEMS ABOUT OUR PARTS. Ill. by Greg Clark. Cambridge: Candlewick Press. ISBN 076361565X [Suggested Grade Levels 1-5]
SUMMARY and ANALYSIS
This collection of poetry answers questions for readers curious about their kidneys or suspicious about their spleen. This poetry collection capitalizes on the notion that body parts and bodily functions are funny for young readers. Each poem examines a body part or system. Poetic grace is sometimes sacrificed for the sake of scientific explanation, but the poems are entertaining. The illustrations are cartoon-like and organs sometimes appear with their own eyes, arms and legs. However, some illustrations have charts providing further information, such as the opening illustration of the body or the chambers of the heart. The illustrations are no substitute for a reference text, but they provide a comical approach to organs and body systems to budding biology buffs and reluctant science scholars alike.
Written by a former junior high school science teacher, this collection of poems will ring true with that audience. The catchy poems will provide reinforcement for complex scientific concepts. The droll writing style provides simple and accurate information for readers. The author’s notes provide detailed definitions as well as resources for additional reading for students, teachers, parents, and even “the serious anatomist.”
Encourage readers to do further research on the body part that was the most interesting to them. Have readers write their own poems about a body part and illustrate it. The readers can then reassemble a body using the body parts they wrote about and illustrated.
Other books that use poetry or humor to explain or demystify concepts:
Leedy, Loreen. THERE’S A FROG IN MY THROAT. ISBN 0823417743
Pullver, Robin. PUNCTUATION TAKES A VACATION. ISBN 0823416879
Scieszka, Jon. MATH CURSE. ISBN 0670861994
By Lea Ann Gilbert