Sunday, September 25, 2005

Come to My Party and Other Shape Poems

Roemer, Heidi. 2004. COME TO MY PARTY AND OTHER SHAPE POEMS. Ill. by Hideko Takahashi. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 0805066209 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-2]

“She jumps barefoot, I wear socks; Spring’s the new kid on the block!” The opening line of the poem “Jump-Rope Jingle” sets the tone for this collection of energetic concrete poems. Organized by seasons, these poems celebrate the wonders of nature and common events in children’s lives. Some selections are written in simple rhyming nonsensical verse (e.g. “Rumple dimple dumplin’ pumpkin patch! / Buy a perfect pumpkin—mix and match.”), while others use more complex descriptive language (e.g. “We reach up to snatch waltzing leaves as they flutter.”).

The text of each poem is so descriptive and rhythmic that it could stand alone and still be enjoyed as a read aloud. However, in combination with the clever and colorful illustrations, the selections become a double treat. Consider for example the poem titled “Evening View” where the lines of the text for a giant V to illustrate geese in flight. In addition, the letter “V” found in some words of the poem (“voices,” “overhead,” “valiant,” “vanish”) is accentuated to represent individual birds. The color combinations used are appropriate to each poem. In “Dandelions,” the text used to form the flower is white while the words that form the stem are green. This is a collection of poems that will stimulate both sight and sound. Young readers will respond to this imaginative collection.

Some poems lend themselves beautifully to audience participation. Invite children to participate in reading aloud poems such as “The Happy Gardener” and “Special Delivery.”

Children can choose a favorite season and illustrate an activity they enjoy doing during that season.

Other collections of concrete poems:
Janeczko, Paul (Ed.). A POKE IN THE I. ISBN 0763606618

By S. Zulema Silva Bewley

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