Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Buttercup's Lovely Day

Beck, Carolyn. 2008. BUTTERCUP’S LOVELY DAY. Ill. by Andrea Beck. Custer, WA: Orca Book Publishers. ISBN 1554691222 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK–5]


From the lilting end pages at the beginning with bees buzzing across a buttercup yellow sky and ending with stars twinkling across a deep blue one, this poetry collection is a gem. There are double page spreads for each poem with a shifting focus from a close-up on the cow to more pastoral landscape cow-scenes. There are 14 poems set from day to dusk-- with pages darkening from beginning to end-- a kind of lullaby of the day for the reader or listener.

But the poems are not just lyrical pastorals. This poet is not afraid to acknowledge the “cow pies,” cow dung, and the churning cud of cow life, often with clever and humorous details and wordplay. Beck uses a very effective and natural rhyme and a pleasing arrangement of words on the page. The poems’ structure fits the rhythm of the words and story perfectly and the illustrations by (sister) Andrea Beck offer an engaging complement that maximizes the picture book format.


Read these poems out loud, first for the enjoyment of the words and language, and then to glean details about cows and their ways. Compare this to other poems and poetry about cows. Make a list of cow facts and cow-related words. Work as a group to create a new cow poem.


Other poetry about cows:

Frost, Robert. THE COW IN APPLE TIME. ISBN 0975897012

Schertle, Alice. HOW NOW BROWN COW. ISBN 0152017062

By Sylvia M. Vardell

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