Go Fly a Kite

 

April is National Kite Month! Not that kites aren’t fun (and educational) anytime. Provided you’ve got a little wind.

See below for scientific kites, mathematical kites, easy-to-fly kites, kite poems, a kite princess, and kites at war. And more.

JUST FOR STARTS…

 images The National Kite Month website has kite history, kite plans, flying and wind info, multidisciplinary educational resources, hints for running a kite workshop, and more.
 images The Drachen Foundation has information about all things kite, including kite history, culture, and science, kite plans for kite builders, kite events, many creative kite lesson plans (categorized by grade level from K-8), and an online store which sells kite kits (for all ages), books, and supplies.
 images From David Gomberg of Gomberg Kites, Kites as an Educational Tool has kite lesson plans, kite math and science projects, a kite history overview, an illustrated article on “Five People That Flew Kites and Changed the World,” names for kite in many different languages, and a gallery of kite photos.
 images Best Breezes is a website dedicated to the history, science, and art of kites. Included are information on the science of kite flight, kite history timelines, and biographies of kite pioneers, among them William Eddy, Guglielmo Marconi, and Alexander Graham Bell. Click on Kites as Art for a terrific 20-page illustrated booklet, Art Kites, in pdf format, which covers the science, history, and art of kites. (Check out the Vietnamese peacock kite.)

KITE TALES

 images-1 In Vera B. Williams’s Lucky Song (Greenwillow Books, 1997), Evie’s grandpa builds her a kite and off she goes for a blue-sky, kite-flying day – all of which is the subject of the lucky song that her father sings for her at the end of the book. For ages 3-5.
 images-2 In Will Hillebrand’s Kite Day (Holiday House, 2012), Bear and Mole build a kite and send it soaring into the sky, only to lose it when the string snaps in a storm. It ends up lodged in a tree, sheltering a nest of baby birds. An adorable read for ages 3-5.
 images-3 In Oliver Jeffers’s Stuck (Philomel, 2011), Floyd has a lot in common with Charlie Brown: his kite is hopelessly stuck in a tree.  He tosses up a shoe to knock it free, and the shoe sticks too – then the other shoe, and soon a host of improbable objects, including a bucket of paint, the milkman, a truck, a ladder, a whale (who happened to be “in the wrong place at the wrong time”), and, inevitably, the kitchen sink. Hilarious, for ages 3-7.  Cheering for all with stuck kites.
 images-4 In Bruce Edward Hall’s Henry and the Kite Dragon (Philomel, 2004), eight-year-old Henry lives in New York City’s Chinatown and loves flying kites with an elderly neighbor, a kitemaker. When some boys from nearby Little Italy start throwing rocks and destroying the kites, it looks like war – until Henry discovers the problem: the kites are frightening the boys’ pet pigeons. The book ends with compromise and a new friendship. For ages 4-7.
 images-5 In Margaret and H.A. Rey’s Curious George Flies a Kite (Harcourt, 1977), George’s curiosity – despite warnings from the Man in the Yellow Hat – leads him into all sorts of trouble, including being yanked up into the sky by a kite. (The Man in the Yellow Hat rescues him with a helicopter.) For ages 4-7.
 images-6 In Grace Lin’s Kite Flying (Dragonfly Books, 2004), a Chinese family – parents and two daughters – buy supplies, build a dragon kite, and head outdoors to take it for a flight. For ages 4-7.
 images-7 Among the funny and delightful stories in Arnold Lobel’s Days with Frog and Toad (HarperCollins, 1984) – starring the patient and optimistic Frog and the impatient and pessimistic Toad – is The Kite, in which the pair repeatedly fail to launch a kite. (Try shouting UP KITE UP, Frog suggests.) For ages 4-8.
 images-8 In Virginia L. Kroll’s A Carp for Kimiko (Charlesbridge Publishing, 1994), Kimiko knows that every Children’s Day in Japan, a wonderful carp kite is flown for every boy in the family – but even so, she wishes for a carp of her own. She doesn’t get a kite, but she does get a special symbolic gift. For ages 4-8.
 images-9 In Jane Yolen’s The Emperor and the Kite (Puffin, 1998), the little princess Djeow Seow is ignored by everyone and spends her time alone, playing with her kite. When her father, the king, is taken hostage by kidnappers, however, it’s the clever princess with the kite who manages to rescue him. The illustrations are wonderful Chinese-style paper-cuts by Ed Young. For ages 4-8.
 images-10 In Laura Williams’s The Best Winds (Boyds Mills Press, 2006), Jinho’s old-fashioned Korean grandfather still practices the ancient craft of kite-making, and insists on showing Jinho how to make a kite, in preparation for the coming of “the best winds.” Jinho, impatient, takes it out prematurely, wrecks it, and then – when he realizes his grandfather’s disappointment – stays up all night repairing the damage. The book ends with grandfather and grandson sharing a bond and a kite. For ages 4-8.
 images-11 In Florence Parry Heide’s Princess Hyacinth (Schwartz & Wade, 2009), Hyacinth, to the dismay of her royal parents, floats – unless firmly and miserably weighted down with diamond pebbles in her socks and an enormous crown with a chinstrap. One day Hyacinth meets a balloon man and, entranced, decides to try floating while clutching a balloon. Instead she nearly vanishes into the sky, only to be rescued by a boy with a kite – whom she’s always admired from afar. The story ends happily, with the pair the best of friends, the princess floating to her heart’s content, and popcorn in the palace garden. For ages 4-8.
 images-13 In Juliet Clare Bell’s The Kite Princess (Barefoot Books, 2012), tomboy Princess Cinnamon Stitch runs off to the woods in overalls and ends up with a scold, told sternly that princesses can only sing and sew. Undeterred, Cinnamon stitches up a glorious multicolored kite and soars singing into the sky. For ages 5-8.
 images-14 Virginia Pilegard’s The Warlord’s Kites (Pelican Publishing, 2004) is one of a series set in ancient China. starring Chuan, an artist’s apprentice with a knack for math. In this book, Chuan and friend Jing-Jing manage to frighten away an enemy army by building kites with flutes tied to their tails. For ages 5-8.
 images-15 In Ji-li Jiang’s Red Kite, Blue Kite (Hyperion Books for Children, 2013), Tai Shan and his father love to fly kites together – one red, one blue – from their city rooftop. Then the Cultural Revolution comes to China, chaos reigns, and Tai Shan goes to live with his grandmother after his father is sent away. Still, each day father and son maintain their bond by flying kites – one red, one blue – while waiting for freedom and the father’s return. For ages 5-8.
 images-16 In the second book of the Mary Poppins series, P.L. Travers’s Mary Poppins Comes Back (Harcourt, 2006), everyone’s favorite nanny returns to 17 Cherry Tree Lane by kite. For ages 7 and up.
The 1964 Walt Disney film version of Mary Poppins ends with a kite-flying expedition and the song Let’s Go Fly a Kite.
 images-17 In Linda Sue Park’s The Kite Fighters (Sandpiper, 2010), set in 15th-century Korea, two brothers – both passionate about kites – attract the attention of the king as they prepare to participate in the annual New Year’s kite-fighting competition. Traditionally, the oldest son in the family flies the competition kite, but in this case the younger is by far the better kite flier. For ages 8-12.
 images-18 Geraldine McCaughrean’s The Kite Rider (HarperTeen, 2003) is set in 13th-century China, where 12-year-old Haoyou witnesses the death of his father, engineered by the man who wants to marry Haoyou’s beautiful mother. With the help of his clever cousin Mipeng, Haoyou sets out to rescue his mother. He ends up joining the Jade Circus as a kite rider, where he soars into the sky strapped to a red-and-gold kite, and performs at the court Kublai Khan. An exciting story for ages 11 and up.
 images-19 Stephen Messer’s Windblowne (Random House, 2010) is a fantasy world with two moons, in which people live in oak trees and are passionate about the annual midsummer kite festival. Oliver, our hero, is a klutz with kites, so he goes for help to his great-uncle Gilbert, a former kite champion – only to see Gilbert disappear after an attack by ferocious kite creatures. With the help of one red kite that Gilbert has left behind, Oliver sets out on a quest through many alternate Windblownes, populated with alternate Gilberts and Olivers. Adventure with an ecological message for ages 12 and up.

HISTORY OF KITES

 images-20 The Kitehistory.com website features a bright blue font on a sky-blue background, which is awful on the eyes; however there’s a lot of excellent historical information here, illustrated with period photographs. Various pages cover the Wright brothers, Alexander Graham Bell, Lawrence Hargrave, meteorological kites, and war kites.
 images-23 Kite History – black type on a blue-and-white cloudy sky; distracting to read too – has illustrated information on the kites of China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, India, and the West.
 images-22 This hyperlinked  Timeline of Kite History runs from the 4th century BCE (in China) to 2000.
 images-21 Chinese Kites has information on the ancient history of Chinese kites – which date back as least to the 5th century BCE. (Marco Polo brought one home with him after his famous 13th-century trip to Cathay.)
 images-24 By Judith Jango-Cohen, Ben Franklin’s Big Shock (Lerner Publishing, 2006) in the On My Own Science series is the story of Franklin’s kite experiment and the discovery that lightning is electricity, told in simple language for ages 4-7.
 images-25 Rosalyn Schanzer’s How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning (HarperCollins, 2002) covers the many aspects of Franklin’s multitalented life, but concentrates on his studies of electricity and his (dangerous) landmark kite experiment. For ages 4-8.
 images-26 In Stephen Krensky’s Ben Franklin and His First Kite (Simon Spotlight, 2002), the kite is not the kite of the famous thunderstorm experiment, but the one the boy Ben rigged to pull himself across the millpond while swimming. For ages 5-8.
 images-27 Resources to accompany the three-part PBS series Benjamin Franklin include background information, a teacher’s guide, a virtual tour of “Ben’s Town,” and instructions for making a kite. (Do not fly it in a thunderstorm.)
 images-28 From USHistory.org, Franklin and his Electric Kite is a detailed illustrated account of Franklin’s most famous experiment, including his own description of how he built his kite.
 images-29 From the Smithsonian, learn about Alexander Graham Bell’s spectacular tetrahedral kites.

 SCIENCE, MATH, AND KITES

 images-33 From Scientific American’s Science Buddies, Stability Science: How Tails Help a Kite Fly has instructions for building a sled kite, suggestions for experiments, explanations of results, and links to other sites to explore.
 images-31 From the Smithsonian, Kiting Up the Sky is a detailed unit on kites, variously covering how and why a kite flies, kite history, kite poems and stories (with helps for inventing your own), a kite-making project, and a note on the Smithsonian Kite Festival. For elementary- and middle-school-level kids.
From the American Kitefliers Association, Why a Kite Flies is an illustrated explanation of lift, drag, yaw, pitch, and roll.
 images-32 The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force has a series of kite-based lesson plans with instructions and associated activities. Titles include “Patang: The Indian Fighter Kite,” “Sled Kite and Trigonometry,” “Sled Kite” (for younger kids, without trigonometry), and “Tetrahedron Kite.”
 images-36 From NASA, the Beginner’s Guide to Aeronautics is a terrific online textbook for high-school-level students, preferably with a bit of physics under their belts. Included is a detailed section on kite history, science, and real-world flying.
Are GIANT KITES the answer to the problem of renewable energy? Check it out.
 images-35 In Stuart J. Murphy’s Let’s Fly a Kite (Perfection Learning, 2000), a MathStart 2 book, Bob and Hannah, on a trip to the beach, argue over everything from sharing the backseat of the car to decorating their new kite. Their mathematically savvy babysitter solves their problems using the concept of symmetry. For ages 5-8.
Kite Math is a series of six challenging problems based on events in kite history. Interesting stories paired with calculations of speed, altitude, and distance.

HOW-TOS

 images-37 Margaret Greger’s Kites for Everyone (Dover Publications, 2006) has general kite information and instructions for making 50 different kites, many of them simple, inexpensive, and easy to fly.
 images-38 By Wayne Hosking, Asian Kites (Tuttle Publishing, 2004) in the Asian Arts and Crafts for Creative Kids series features basic information on kite-making and flying along with fifteen kite-making projects, variously from China Malaysia, Thailand, Korea, and Japan, each with illustrated instructions and a materials list. For ages 9-12.
 images-39 William Gurstelle’s Backyard Ballistics (Chicago Review Press, 2012) has instructions for making 16 truly awesome ballistic devices, among them a tennis-ball mortar, a potato cannon, and a Cincinnati fire kite.
 images-40 Into the Wind is a great source for kites, kite-making supplies, kite accessories, and helpful information. There’s a special section for kids, featuring the “Frustrationless Flier” and the “Color a Sled Kite” kit (a blank white kite that comes with crayons).
Wikihow’s How to Make a Kite Out of a Plastic Bag has step-by-step photo-illustrated instructions for making a simple inexpensive kite from a plastic shopping bag.
 images-41 From the Instructables, Garbage Bag Kite has step-by-step instructions for making a classic diamond kite from two sticks and a plastic garbage bag.
The Basic Sled Kite site has clear illustrated instructions for making a simple sled kite from copier paper and wooden barbecue skewers.
 kite4 Among the activities and experiments from the Smithsonian’s Spark!Lab is a Create Your Own Indoor Kite project. Included are illustrated instructions, a brief kite history, and a resource list.
 images-42 Billy Bear’s Mini Kite has a pattern and instructions for a small kite made from tissue paper and stir sticks.
Microkites has information on the “world’s smallest kite” and instructions for building a flyable kite just one inch square.
 61ed16ZYF7L._SX385_ Actually there appear to be a number of candidates for World’s Smallest Kite. This model, from Amazon, is multicolored, sports two tails, and measures about 3 x 4 inches. About $6.

POEMS AND KITES 

 images-47 Read and/or listen to Joyce Carol Oates’s concrete kite-shaped  Kite Poem. (Invent one of your own?)
 Kite_Acrostic_Hannah See this Kite Tail Acrostic Poem project, with examples of student work.
 images-44 From A Child’s Garden of Verses, Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Wind begins “I saw you toss the kites on high.”
 images-45 Dana Jensen’s A Meal of the Stars: Poems Up and Down (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2012) is a collection of illustrated poems about things that go, variously, up and/or down, such as raindrops, balloons, Ferris wheels, and kites. For ages 4-8.
 images-46 Ruth Heller’s Kites Sail High (Puffin, 1998) is “A Book About Verbs” in the gorgeously illustrated World of Language series. The rhyming text celebrates action words: “A VERB really is the most superb/of any word you’ve ever heard…/Verb’s tell you something’s being done./Roses BLOOM/and people RUN.” For ages 5-9.
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Poetry II

 

Reading poetry, writing poetry, poems across the curriculum, and poems in the movies…yes, movies…

Also see POETRY I.

WRITING AND READING POETRY: FICTION

 images In Leo Lionni’s Frederick (Dragonfly Books, 1972), the title character – an enchanting little field mouse – doesn’t help the other mice lay in food for the winter; instead dreamy Frederick collects colors and words “because winter is gray.” In the bleak dead of winter, Frederick comes into his own, warming and cheering the other mice with his poetic descriptions of spring and summer. For ages 4-8.
 images-1 Byrd Baylor’s The Other Way to Listen (Aladdin, 1997) is a poem about learning how to listen to the natural world. “Teach me,” a little girl says to a wise old man, and gently he explains that it’s a matter of taking time, being quiet, and asking yourself hard questions. A good beginning for all poets. For ages 5-9.
 images-2 In Jane O’Connor’s Fancy Nancy: Poet Extraordinaire (HarperCollins, 2010), Nancy’s class is studying poetry and Nancy – complete with toga costume and poetry-palace clubhouse – prepares to become a prize poet. It’s a great book for poetry project ideas, among them conducting a poetry survey (Nancy’s little sister likes “Diddle, Diddle, Dumpling;” her father likes “Blowin’ in the Wind;” her mother’s pick is “Annabel Lee”), making a paper “poet-tree,” and creating a personal poetry anthology. For ages 6-9.
 images-4 Randall Jarrell’s The Bat-Poet (HarperCollins, 1994) is the story of a little brown bat (“the color of coffee with cream in it”) who loves the world of daytime and invents poems about all he sees and learns there – though ultimately, as winter comes, and he and his admiring friend, the chipmunk, prepare to hibernate, his final poem celebrates his familiar world of bats. A wonderful book about the true nature of poetry for ages 8 and up.
 images-5 In Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog (Perfection Learning, 2003), Jack – a student of the incomparable Ms. Stretchberry in Room 105 – is, in spite of himself, learning to love poetry.  The book – entirely written in free verse – begins with Jack’s objections to all things poetic (“I don’t want to/because boys/don’t write poetry./Girls do.”), continues through his strictures on famous poets (“I think Mr. Robert Frost/has a little/too/much/time/on his/hands”), to his discovery of a poem by Walter Dean Myers (“Love That Boy”) that strikes a chord – and helps him deal with the heartbreaking loss of his yellow dog, Sky. For ages 8 and up.
 images-6 In the sequel, Hate That Cat (HarperCollins, 2010), poetry helps Jack come to terms with his deaf mother and a particularly awful neighborhood cat. In both books, the poems used in Ms. Stretchberry’s class appear in an appendix at the back.
 images-7 In Edward Eager’s Seven-Day Magic (Harcourt, 1999), John, Susan, Barnaby, Abbie, and Frederika check a mysterious red book out of the library, which plunges them into seven days of (often nearly disastrous) magical adventures. One of these nearly costs their father his job, though he’s saved by Abbie, a poet (though she never shows her poems to anybody), with the help of a famous poet she encounters in the park. For ages 8-12.
 images-8 In Sally Murphy’s Pearl Verses the World (Candlewick, 2011) – written in Pearl’s voice in free verse – Pearl doesn’t fit in at school: she is a group of one. Her teacher, Mrs. Bruff, wants the class to write poems that rhyme, but Pearl’s don’t (“Rhyme is okay sometimes/but my poems don’t rhyme/and neither do I”). At home, her beloved grandmother sometimes doesn’t remember who Pearl and her mother are. When her grandmother dies, Pearl comes to terms with her death through a poem (“…She wasn’t here/For long enough/But I am glad/That she/Was here/At all”) – and comes to learn that she can maintain her individuality while also becoming part of a group. And Mrs. Bruff admits that poems don’t have to rhyme. A gentle book about difficult issues for ages 8-12.
 images-9 In Rita Williams-Garcia’s One Crazy Summer (Amistad, 2011), set in the summer of 1968, eleven-year-old Delphine and her younger sisters Vonetta and Fern have been shipped to California to spend time with Cecile, the mother who abandoned them shortly after Fern’s birth. Cecile is a poet who wants nothing to do with motherhood; in fact, she turns the girls out of the house for most of the day, sending them to a community camp run by the Black Panthers. It’s a wonderful story about political activism, racial tension, family and freedom, understanding, and growing up – all culminating when the three girls recite one of Cecile’s poems at a Black Panther rally in the park. A great read for ages 9-13.
 images-10 Poet Paul Chowder, the protagonist of Nicholson Baker’s The Anthologist (Simon & Schuster, 2010) is struggling to write an introduction to an anthology of rhyming poems in the teeth of a string of troubles, among them the loss of his girlfriend. The book is stuffed with observations on the nature of poetry and stories about famous poets (and accounts of Chowder’s fruitless attempts to clean his office and deal with the mouse who lives behind his stove). For teenagers and adults.

 WRITING AND READING POETRY: HOW-TOS

 images-11 In Judy Young’s R is for Rhyme: A Poetry Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Press, 2010), each letter of the alphabet stands for a different poetic form or feature, with an example and explanation. A, ACROSTIC, for example, features an acrostic poem (“Drawing”), and explains how the title determines the first letters of each line of the poem. For ages 7-11.
A Teacher’s Guide to R is for Rhyme has many illustrated student projects with printable worksheets. For example, kids can invent a free-verse poem, creative alliterative sentences, play a game of Word Ladders, write limericks and narrative poems, and experiment with concrete (“picture”) poems.
 images-12 Norton Juster’s A Surfeit of Similes (William Morrow, 1989) is a delightful rhyming celebration of (many) similes: “As pure as an angel/As clever as zippers/As awkward as crutches/As friendly as slippers.” Readers will never forget what a simile is. For all ages.
 images-13 Kenneth Koch’s Wishes, Lies, and Dreams (HarperPerennial, 1999) – subtitled “Teaching Children to Write Poetry” – is a wonderful and inspirational collection based on Koch’s experiences with elementary-level students, crammed with teaching suggestions and examples of kids’ work. Kids write poems based on wishes, dreams, and colors; write poems while listening to music; create poems on the themes of “I used to/But now…” and “I seem to be/But I really am…” And much more. For ages 6-12.
 images-14 Kenneth Koch’s Rose, Where Did You Get That Red? (Vintage Books, 1990) – subtitled “Teaching Great Poetry to Children” – is one of my all-time favorites. The premise: kids read poems by famous poets and write related poems of their own. There are ten featured poem projects, for each of which is included a famous poem -  among them William Blake’s “The Tyger” and Wallace Stevens’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” – with background information, teaching suggestions, and examples of student work. The second half of the book consists of a large anthology of additional poems, with accompanying writing suggestions. Very highly recommended. For ages 7 and up.
 images-15 Larry Fagin’s The List Poem (Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 2000) is a wonderful guide to writing list or catalog poems, with many examples by both well-known poets and kids. Try a recipe poem or a how-to poem; invent a list poem of the beautiful, the happy, the sad, the magical, the infuriating. Adaptable for all ages.
 images-16 Edited by Georgia Heard, Falling Down the Page (Roaring Brook Press, 2009) is a collection of list poems, among them Jane Yolen’s “In My Desk,” Elaine Magliaro’s “Things to Do If You Are a Pencil,” Bobbi Katz’s “Things to Do If Your Are the Sun,” and Patricia Hubbell’s “Winter’s Presents.” Try versions of your own. For ages 8 and up.
 images-17 Jack Prelutsky’s engaging Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry: How to Write a Poem (Greenwillow Books, 2008) shows how he himself uses personal experiences to write poems, with examples from his own work. Included are suggestions for aspiring poets and a list of “poemstarts” to get things moving. For ages 8-12.
 images-18 By Laura Purdie Salas, Picture Yourself Writing Poetry (Capstone Press, 2011) is a 32-page collection of photographs to be used as poem-starters, paired with helpful hints for beginning poetry writers. For ages 8 and up.
 images-19 Paul Janeczko’s A Kick in the Head (Candlewick, 2009), subtitled “An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms,” tackles the question: Do poems have rules? Yes, they sometimes do – which, Janeczko argues, makes writing a poem both challenging and fun. The book introduces 29 poetic forms, from the couplet and haiku to the aubade, elegy, villanelle, and pantoum. Clever illustrations accompany each example. For ages 8 and up.
 images-20 Janeczko’s Poetry from A to Z (Simon & Schuster, 2012) is an alphabetized guide to poetry forms and concepts, with illustrative examples by well-known poets and “Try this” projects for kids. For example, C stands for clerihews and curse poems; H for how-to poems and haiku; L for letter and list poems; and S for shape poems. For ages 9-12.
 images-21 Also by Janeczko, Reading Poetry in the Middle Grades (Heinemann, 2011) is a collection of 20 poems, each with associated teaching suggestions, including pre- and post-reading activities, discussion topics, writing projects and templates, and a list of related poems. Among the poems are “Abandoned Farmhouse” by Ted Kooser, “A Poison Tree” by William Blake, “Summertime Sharing” by Nikki Grimes, “Ode to Family Photographs” by Gary Soto, and “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost.
 images-22 By X.J. Kennedy and Dorothy M. Kennedy, Knock at a Star (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 1999) is a wonderful anthology that encourages readers to consider what poems do and how they do it. Section one, “What Do Poems Do?,” groups poems by purpose: they variously Make You Smile, Tell Stories, Send Messages, Share Feelings, Help You Understand People, and Start You Wondering. Section two, “What’s Inside a Poem?,” groups selections by Images, Word Music, Beats That Repeat, Likenesses, and Word Play. “Special Kinds of Poetry” includes Limericks, Takeoffs, Songs, Show-and-Spell Poems, Finders-Keepers Poems, and Haiku; and a final section has helps for writing your own poems. Terrific. For ages 8 and up.
 images-23 Poetry Inside Out (Two Lines Press, 2012) is a poetry-and-translation-based curriculum in which kids study poems by twelve famous poets (Basho, Dante, Federico Garcia Lorca, and more) in their native languages, then translate them into English and use their translations as inspiration for poems of their own. Fascinating. For ages 9 and up.
 images-24 Compiled by Janeczko, Seeing the Blue Between (Candlewick, 2006) is a collection of 32 “letters of advice” to young poets from such established writers as Lee Bennett Hopkins, Jane Yolen, Lillian Morrison, and Jack Prelutsky. For ages 12 and up.
 images-25 By Kenneth Koch and Kate Farrell, Sleeping on the Wing (Vintage, 1982) is a collection of poems with associated essays on reading poetry and suggestions for writing poems of your own. Featured poets include Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, Allan Ginsberg, Frank O’Hara, Leroi Jones, and more. For ages 12 and up.
 images-26 Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook (Mariner Books, 1994) is a concise introduction to the art of poetry writing, with examples from the works of Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, and others. Some things, Oliver explains, can’t be taught, but “can only be given;” other things, on the other hand, can. Topics covered include meter and rhyme, line and form, imagery, and free verse, with some final notes on revision (Oliver herself does many) and writing groups. For teenagers and adults.
 lessons Kenn Nesbit’s Poetry4Kids website features a long list of poetry projects and exercises, including experiments with a range of poetic forms (acrostic poems, concrete poems, found poems, haikus, limericks) and styles (apology, epitaph, and list poems, fractured nursery rhymes, riddle rhymes), and helpful hints on reciting poetry. Included is an extensive online poetry dictionary.
 images-27 In this free 10-week online Poetry for Kids course, various weeks cover cliché-busting, poetry in song lyrics, poetic forms, the sounds of poetry (rhyme, rhythm, repetition), poetry crafts and games, meaning in poems, 24 poets every child should know, and publishing. Cool.
 images-28 Nina Katchadourian’s Sorted Books Project began in 1993 and is still (all over the place) ongoing. The premise: choose a collection of particular book titles and group or stack the books such that the titles can be read in sequence from top to bottom. What a great way to write a poem.
 images-29 In Austin Kleon’s Newspaper Blackout (HarperPerennial, 2010), Kleon creates poems using newspaper articles and a black Sharpie, blacking out all the words he doesn’t want. What’s left is a poem. See some examples at the accompanying Newspaper Blackout website.
 scr_poetry_idea_engine From Scholastic, Writing with Writers: Poetry has helpful tips from poets Jack Prelutsky, Karla Kuskin, and Jean Marzollo, activities, and an interactive Poetry Idea Engine.
 images-30 Experiment with Random Word Poems. You’ll need paste and a lot of creative word cards.
 images-32 From the Academy of American Poets, the Curriculum & Lesson Plans page includes projects in which kids investigate poems in films and create their own screenplay scene in which poetry is central; write letters to historical and contemporary poets; study poems about poetry; investigate images of light and dark in poetry; learn about poems that exemplify different points in the American historical experience; and more.

POEMS ACROSS THE CURRICULUM

 images-33 Sylvia M. Vardell’s 300+-page The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists (CreateSpace, 2012) is a terrific resource, crammed with annotated lists of prize-winning poetry books, Common-Core-related poetry books, thematic poetry books (about everything from animals, baseball, and birds to war, weather, and world history), poetry for holidays, and approaches to teaching poetry.
 images-34 Barbara Chatton’s Using Poetry Across the Curriculum (Libraries Unlimited, 2010) covers writing poetry, learning about poets, creating poetry anthologies, reading and retelling classic poems, poetic forms and conventions, and poetry across the curriculum in science, math, history, geography, fine arts, and physical education. Many book and resource lists. For elementary- and middle-school-level kids.
 images-35 By J. Patrick Lewis and Laura Robb, Poems for Teaching in the Content Areas (Scholastic, 2007) is a collection of 75 poems plus teaching ideas to mesh with history, geography, science, and math lessons. For ages 9 and up.
 images-32 From PBS, Thematic Teaching: Poetry is a great collection of poems and activities for incorporating poetry across the curriculum, variously targeted at grades 3-7 or 8-12. For example, in conjunction with “The Eagle” by Alfred Lord Tennyson, kids study the eagle and other symbols of America, investigate the biology and natural history of the American bald eagle, and design a bald eagle postcard. Other lessons cover health/nutrition and poetry; symmetry/math and poetry; and the history and science of flight and poetry.

POETRY AND LITERATURE

 images-36 Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, Good Books, Good Times (HarperCollins, 2000) is a delightful illustrated collection of poems about books and reading by such poets as Myra Cohn Livingston, Jack Prelutsky, and X.J. Kennedy. For ages 4-8.
 images-37 By Laura Purdie Salas, BookSpeak! Poems about Books (Clarion Books, 2011) is a collection of creatively illustrated poems about reading and books, among them “If a Tree Falls” (“If a book remains unopened…”), “A Character Pleads for His Life,” and “On the Shelf and Under the Bed.” For ages 4-9.
 images-38 Poetry Through the Ages is a terrific exploration of the history of poetry from ancient times to the present. Also included are definitions and examples of many poetic forms (with helpful instructions for writing poems of your own) and an overview on reading and speaking poetry. Click on “About” for a detailed teacher’s guide to accompany the site, with a challenging list of lesson plans and projects. For middle-school-level students and up.
 images-38 From the Academy of American Poets, Ars Poetica: Poems about Poetry has a long list of just that, among them Archibald MacLeish’s famous “Ars Poetica” (“A poem should not mean, but be”). Also see Poems on Poems.
 images-38 12 Beautiful Poems for Booklovers is an excellent selection, each poem illustrated with a picture of the author. #1: Emily Dickinson’s “There Is No Frigate Like a Book.”

POETRY AND HISTORY

 images-39 By Langston Hughes, I, Too, Am America (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012) is a picture-book version of the poem “I, Too:” “I am the darker brother/They send me to eat in the kitchen/When company comes/But I laugh/And eat well/And grow strong.” For ages 4-9.
  Read Langston Hughes’s I, Too online at the Poetry Foundation website.
 images-40 Susan Katz’s The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub (Clarion Books, 2012) has a poem for every president from George Washington (“Where Didn’t George Washington Sleep?”) to Barack Obama (“Yo Mama”), each with an appealing cartoon-style illustration. The poems are crammed with the sort of human interest that sticks in readers’ memories: John Quincy Adams was fond of skinny-dipping; 350-pound William Howard Taft got stuck in the bathtub; Rutherford B. Hayes had the first White House telephone; Jimmy Carter was attacked by a rabbit. For ages 6-10.
 images-41 Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, Hand in Hand: An American History Through Poetry (Simon & Schuster, 1994) is an impressive 144-page illustrated collection, covering American history from the arrival of the first settlers through modern times. The poems, grouped into eight different historical categories, are by such poets as Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, and Walt Whitman. A great resource for ages 7 and up.
 images-42 Lives: Poems About Famous Americans (HarperCollins, 1999), selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, is a collection of poems about sixteen famous persons – among them Paul Revere, Sagacawea, Harriet Tubman, Thomas Edison, Eleanor Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Rosa Parks, and Neil Armstrong – by many different poets. Each poem is paired with full-page folk-art-style portrait by Leslie Straub. For ages 8-13.
 images-43 J. Patrick Lewis’s Heroes and She-roes (Dial, 2005) is a collection of illustrated poems celebrating “everyday” heroes, among them Helen Keller, an elementary schoolteacher, firefighters, Rosa Parks, Rosie the Riveter, Gandhi, and Cesar Chavez. For ages 8-13.
 images-44 Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, America at War (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2008) is an illustrated collection of 50 poems, variously categorized under American Revolution, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, and Iraq War. A prologue, “Wish for Peace” by Joan Bransfield Graham, begins “Would/that war/could only/rage upon the/battlefield of page.” For ages 9 and up.
images-53 All right – how could Rosemary and Stephen Benet’s A Book of Americans go out of print? Luckily it’s still available, inexpensively, from used-book suppliers, and it’s more than worth the minimal price. Poems, each featuring a prominent American, cover American history from Christopher Columbus to Woodrow Wilson. (In between: Virginia Dare, Pocahontas, Peter Stuyvesant, Captain Kidd, George Washington, Abigail Adams…) And, unlike most writers in the 1930s, the Benets appreciated the plight of the native Americans (“But just remember this about/Our ancestors so dear/They didn’t find an empty land/The Indians were here.”). For ages 9 and up.
 images-46 Stephen Vincent Benet’s John Brown’s Body (Ivan R. Dee, 1990) is an epic, wonderful, poetic, and heartbreaking history. The best book ever about the truth of the Civil War. Read it, guys. For ages 13 and up.
 images-47 From the New Yorker, Poetry for Presidents is a history of inaugural poems.
 images-50 Historical Poems is a list of poems by Rudyard Kipling that trace the course of English history from prehistory to the early 20th century. Each poem (click on the red arrow) is accompanied by a page of interesting historical background information.
 images-49 From Learn Peace, 20th Century Poetry and War is a wide-ranging collection, grouped into eight categories: First World War, 1930s, Second World War, Crimes Against Humanity, Nuclear Age, Other Wars, Responsibility, and Women’s Voices. Each includes a selection of poems with explanations, historical background information, and discussion topics.
 images-51 From the Library of Congress, Finding the Heart in History: Making Connections Through Poetry is introduced with a quote from Plato: “Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.” The site describes a project to make an American-history-based “found poetry” chapter book using primary source documents and images. Documents and images are available at the site from the Library of Congress collection, categorized by historical period. Adaptable for a range of ages.

POETRY AND GEOGRAPHY

 images-54 J. Patrick Lewis’s A World of Wonders (Dial, 2002) is a catchy and informative collection of poems about geography, illustrated with colorful crackle-patterned pictures reminiscent of old maps. Included are poems about explorers Columbus and Magellan, “Is the Yellow Sea Yellow?” (yes), “How Will a Cave Behave?” (includes a useful mnemonic about stalactites and stalagmites), and “One Square Foot Per Person, Please,” an unforgettable take on the world’s population. For ages 5 and up.
 images-55 Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States (Simon & Schuster, 2000) is a collection of 50 poems by 40 different poets, grouped by geographical region. Included with each geographical section is a colorful map and a page of state facts. For ages 7 and up.
 images-56 Also selected by Hopkins, Got Geography (Greenwillow Books, 2006) is an illustrated collection of 16 poems pertaining to world geography. Titles include “Mapping the World,” “If I Were the Equator,” “Awesome Forces,” “Early Explorers,” and “Compass.” For ages 7-12.
 images-57 Explore poetry across the United States with the National Poetry Map. Click on a state for a list of state poets, a selection of poems about the state, and information about state writing programs and organizations.
  At the PoemHunter website, see The Map, a poem by Elizabeth Bishop.
 images-58 The Poetry Atlas is in the process of “Mapping the World in Poetry.” Click on a site on the world map for a poem about that place.

 POETRY AND SCIENCE

 images-59 Nicola Davies’s Outside Your Window (Candlewick, 2012), illustrated with gorgeous paper collages by Mark Hearld, is a collection of 50 poems about nature, categorized by season, for ages 3-10.
 images-60 George Ella Lyon’s All the Water in the World (Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books, 2011) is a poetic introduction to the water cycle with collage-style illustrations by Katherine Tillotson. For ages 4-7.
 images-61 Joyce Sidman’s Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) is a collection of riddling poems about the denizens of fields and meadows, illustrated with beautiful colored scratchboard scenes. Facing pages give the answer to each poetic riddle and provide scientific background information. For ages 5-10.
 images-62 Also see Sidman’s other poetry collections celebrating ecosystems, among them Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems (Houghton Mifflin, 2005) and Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night (Houghton Mifflin, 2010).
 images-63 Douglas Florian’s thematic collections of poems include many on science topics, among them In the Swim (Sandpiper, 2001), Insectopedia (Sandpiper, 2002), On the Wing (Sandpiper, 2000), Mammalabilia (Sandpiper, 2004), Lizards, Frogs, and Polliwogs (Sandpiper, 2005), Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2007), and Poetrees (Beach Lane Books, 2010).  Illustrated with terrific paintings. For ages 5-10.
 images-64 In Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s Science Verse (Viking Juvenile, 2004), the protagonist is zapped with the curse of SCIENCE VERSE when his science teacher offhandedly announces “You know, if you listen closely enough, you can hear the poetry of science in everything.” Now all science concepts appear in the form of hysterical parodies on classic poems – twisted scientific takes on Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees,” Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” “Jabberwocky,” “Casey at the Bat” (here, it’s about the scientific method, not baseball), and – well, guess this one: “Astronaut Stopping By a Planet on a Snowy Evening.” For ages 7-10.
  From the Poetry Foundation, Ten Poems to Get You Through Science Class has selections by William Carlos Williams, Walt Whitman, Richard Brautigan, Christina Rossetti, and more, all with discussion questions.
images-65 Read Maxine Kumin’s (funny) poem The Microscope online.

POETRY AND MATH

 images-66 Every frustrated math student’s favorite poem is Carl Sandburg’s Arithmetic, which begins “Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and our of your head.”
 images-67 Rhonda Gowler Greene’s picture book When a Line Bends…A Shape Begins (Sandpiper, 2001) is an upbeat rhyming introduction to shapes – circle, square, triangle, diamond, rectangle, octagon, oval, star, heart, and crescent – for ages 3-7.
 images-68 Betsy Franco’s Mathematickles (Margaret K. McElderry, 2006) follows a little girl and her cat through the seasons, demonstrating how words and math equations combine to make poetic puzzles. Summer, for example, features “feet – shoes + grass = barefoot” and “rock x waves = sand.” (I love these.) For ages 5 and up.
 images-69 By J. Patrick Lewis, Arithme-Tickle (Sandpiper, 2007) is a collection of fun rhyming-riddle mathematical puzzles with titles like “How to Weigh Your Poodle” and “Sailing a Bathtub.” “A Regular Riddle,” for example, begins: “What’s the number of points on a regular star/Less the number of wheels on a regular car/Plus the number of teeth in a regular mouth/Less the number of states that begin with South…” For ages 6-9.
 images-70 Greg Tang’s catchy The Grapes of Math (Scholastic, 2004) is an illustrated collection of rhyming math riddles that encourage kids to use pattern-recognition and grouping skills to solve problems. (There are faster ways of counting the number of grapes on a vine than one by one.) For ages 7-10.
 images-71 There are several more by Tang in the same (rhyming) format, among them Math for all Seasons (Scholastic, 2005), Math Potatoes (Scholastic, 2005), Math Fables (Scholastic, 2004), Math Appeal (Scholastic, 2003), and Math-terpieces (Scholastic, 2003).
 images-72 Compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins, Marvelous Math (Simon & Schuster, 2001) is a collection of math-promoting poems by a variety of poets. Mary O’Neill’s “Take a Number,” for example, points out that “Wouldn’t it be awful” to live in a world without mathematics; Lillian Fisher’s “To Build a House” asks if “Without numbers and measure/Would our house ever rise/Against the hill/Beneath blue skies?” Poems with an agenda for ages 7-11.
 images-73 J. Patrick Lewis’s Edgar Allan Poe’s Pie (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2012) is a collection of math puzzles presented through parodies of classic poems by such poets as Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, A.A. Milne, Langston Hughes, and Ogden Nash. “Elephant with Hot Dog,” for example, was inspired by Edward Lear’s “There Was an Old Man with a Beard:” “When an elephant sat down to order/A half of a third of a quarter/Of an eighty-foot bun/And a frankfurter, son/Was it longer than three feet, or shorter?” For ages 7-11.
 images-74 Betsy Franco’s Math Poetry (Good Year Books, 2006) is a clever instruction manual on writing many different kinds of math poetry with kids, variously covering number sense, estimation, measurement, basic arithmetic operations, geometry, algebra, and graphing. Each chapter includes sample student poems, poetry templates, and teaching suggestions. The entire second half of the book is devoted to the teaching of “mathematickles” – an innovative and irresistible mix of word play and mathematical equation that functions like a poem crossed with a parlor game. An interesting resource for ages 7-11.
 images-75 Theoni Pappas’s Math Talk (World Wide Publishing/Tetra, 1993) is a collection of math-themed poems for two voices on such topics as circles, fractals, Fibonacci numbers, Mobius strips, triangles, prime numbers, tessellations, and infinity. It’s a nice mix of mathematical food for thought and expanded possibilities for poetry. For ages 8 and up.

GAMES, PROJECTS, AND POETRY AT THE MOVIES

 images-76 Magnetic Poetry sells themed poetry kits, each consisting of a collection of words to be assembled into poems and stuck onto the nearest refrigerator, filing cabinet, locker door, or any other convenient metal surface.  There are many different themed kits including kids’ kits for beginners; collections for book lovers, bike lovers, music lovers, and cowboys; foreign-language collections; Math, Pirate, and Shakespeare kits; and much more. Also available: poetry collections in the form of self-adhesive chipboard words or travel stickers.
Create your own online poems with virtual Magnetic Poetry Kits or Magnetic Poetry Kits for Kids.
The Instructables has illustrated instructions for making your own magnetic poetry tiles.
 images-77 My Years in Tree Rings is a wonderful concrete poem project using oil pastels and watercolor paints.
 spoonpoetryclose Spoon Poetry Tutorial has video instructions for writing tiny poems on colorful spoons.
 images-78 Make Poetry Pebbles. You’ll need a lot of pebbles, paint, and magic markers.
 images-79 Wizards and Pigs is an interactive online game of rhyme, rhythm, and alliteration, featuring not only cartoon wizards and pigs, but elves, goblins, and dragons.
Poetry Pirates is an online multiple-choice poetry quiz. With a pirate ship.
images-81 From the Academy of American Poets, Watch a Poetry Movie has annotated lists of films about poets and/or films featuring poetry. Also see Movies for Poetry Month.
 images-81 From the Internet Movie Database, an annotated list of the Seven Most Compelling Movies About Poets and Poetry includes Shakespeare in Love and The History Boys.

For many more books and resources, see POETRY I AND POETRY III.

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Poetry I

 

Poetry makes you smarter. Brain imaging studies show that people reading Shakespeare, Wordsworth, and T.S. Eliot display much more cerebral activity than those reading prose; and all kinds of research indicates that rhyme, rhythm, and imagery boost memory formation and recall.

Not that anyone needs an excuse to read poetry. But it’s nice to know that it’s also good for us.

See below for poetry celebrations, poetry collections, not-just-ordinary poetry, and poems to learn by heart.

Also see POETRY II.

POEM OF THE WEEK/POEM OF THE DAY

 images Sylvia Vardell’s The Poetry Friday Anthology (Pomelo Books, 2012), subtitled “Poems for the School Year with Connections to the Common Core,” lists 36 poems each for grades K-5 – a poem for each week of the school year – with teaching strategies and curriculum connections for each selection. For older kids, see The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School (Pomelo Books, 2013), which lists weekly poems for grades 6-8.
 images-1 Thank Goodness It’s (Poetry) Friday is an essay by Susan Thomsen about the origin and practice of the Poetry Friday tradition, a “literary happy hour” in which children’s book lovers and bloggers get together (online) every Friday for a celebration of poetry. Included is a list of regular participants.
 images-8 Kidlitosphere – the Society of Bloggers in Children’s and Young Adult Literature – has a list of upcoming hosts for Poetry Friday Round-ups and an archive of past events, with poems, resources, and discussions. Wonderful stuff.
 images-4 Write a poem a day? Instructions for everything from headline poems to alphabet poems, color poems, and sonnets are at 30 Poems You Can Write for National Poetry Month.
April is NaPoWriMo – that is, National Poetry Writing Month. Write 30 poems in 30 days (with help from a daily writing prompt).
Poetry Minute has a children’s poem a day for every day of the school year.
From the Library of Congress, Poetry 180 has a poem for each day of the school year for high-school-level students. A terrific collection; highly recommended.
 images-6 Poetry Daily is an online anthology of contemporary poetry, featuring a new poem and poet each day.
 images-5 Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems (Penguin Books, 2003) is an anthology of the daily poems from NPR’s popular Writer’s Almanac.
 images-7 The Favorite Poem Project, founded by Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky in 1997, collected favorite poems from Americans of all ages from all across the United States. See the website for anthologies, a video library of participants reading their chosen poems, suggestions for hosting your own community Favorite Poem reading event, and more.
The Poetry Archive is an enormous collection of digital recordings of English-language poets reading their own work. Also see the Children’s Archive, which includes poems selected for kids, a list of alternative poetry websites, and lesson plans and activities for teachers and students.

A POEM IN YOUR POCKET

In 2013, Poem in Your Pocket Day falls on April 18.

 images-9 Poem in Your Pocket has a history of Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day and suggestions for celebrating.
 images-9 From the Academy of American Poets, Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day has a collection of printable pocket poems. (Click on your chosen pocket.)
 images-10 Bobbi Katz’s Pocket Poems (Puffin, 2013) is a charmingly illustrated collection of 50 short appealing poems by a wide range of authors, just right for tucking in a pocket. For ages 4-7.
 images-12 From the Academy of American Poets, Poem in Your Pocket (Abrams Image, 2009) is a collection of 200 poems just for pockets: choose a favorite and tear it out of the book. (You’re supposed to – the pages are perforated – though for some of us, it’s still a wrench.)
 images-11 In the same format, see Poem in Your Pocket for Young Poets (Amulet Books, 2011) for ages 10 (or so) and up.

POETRY COLLECTIONS

 images-13 Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1986) is a collection of 200 catchy poems chosen by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Marc Brown. Poets include Ogden Nash, Myra Cohn Livingston, Robert Louis Stevenson, A.A. Milne, and many more. For ages 3-7.
 images-14 By Maud and Miska Petersham, The Rooster Crows: A Book of American Rhymes and Jingles (Aladdin, 1987) is an illustrated collection of classical playtime rhymes, among them “Baby Bunting,” “The Bear Went Over the Mountain,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb,”  and the immortal “I asked my mother for fifty cents/To see the elephant jump the fence.” For ages 3-7.
 images-15 Compiled by J. Patrick Lewis, National Geographic’s award-winning Book of Animal Poetry (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2012) is a collection of 200 animal poems on everything from elephants to centipedes, paired with spectacular color photographs. For ages 4 and up.
 images-60 John Ciardi’s You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You (HarperCollins, 1987), with irresistible illustrations by Edward Gorey, is a collection of 35 poems, some to be read by adults to kids, and some to be read by kids to adults. My favorite: “Mummy Slept Late and Daddy Fixed Breakfast.” (“Daddy fixed the breakfast/He made us each a waffle./It looked like gravel pudding./It tasted something awful.”) For ages 4-8.
 images-17 Compiled by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Arnold Lobel, The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (Random House, 1983) was worn to rags in our house, which explains why we have two copies. The 572 poems are grouped into categories, among them Four Seasons; City, Oh, City!; Children, Children, Everywhere; Nonsense, Nonsense; and Alphabet Stew. For ages 4-11.
 images-18 Edited by Elise Paschen and Dominique Raccah, Poetry Speaks to Children (Sourcebooks Mediafusion, 2005) is a 112-page illustrated poetry collection with an accompanying CD of poets reading their work. It’s a wonderful and wide-ranging assortment, featuring such poets as Rita Dove, Maxine Kumin, Emily Dickinson, Lewis Carroll, Nikki Giovanni, Alfred Noyes – with “Daddy Fell Into the Pond” – and many more. For ages 7 and up.
 images-19 Look up Lee Bennett Hopkins and you’ll find a wide and wonderful range of themed poetry compilations on everything from science and math to weather, words, inventions, and holidays. Among the many titles are Weather: Poems for All Seasons (HarperCollins, 1995), My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States (Simon & Schuster, 2000), Wonderful Words: Poems About Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening (Simon & Schuster, 2004), Incredible Inventions (Greenwillow Books, 2009), and Nasty Bugs (Dial, 2012).
 images-20 From Sterling Publishing, the Poetry for Young People series consists of 48-page illustrated collections of the works (generally 25-30 poems) of well-known poets, plus biographical information.  Among the featured poets are Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Carl Sandburg, Maya Angelou, Rudyard Kipling, and Edna St. Vincent Millay. For ages 8 and up.
 images-21 Compiled by Michael Harrison and Christopher Stuart-Clark, One Hundred Years of Poetry for Children (Oxford University Press, 2007) is an outstanding collection of works by over 100 different poets, categorized under Mystery, Animals, Childhood, People, Scenes, War, and Love. For ages 10 and up.
 images-22 Compiled by Stephen Dunning, Edward Lueders, and Hugh Smith, Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle (HarperTeen, 1967) is a superb, wide-ranging, and unusual collection of 300 modern poems illustrated with dramatic black-and-white photographs. One of our favorites. For ages 10 and up.
 images-23 Edited by Donald Hall, The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children’s Poems (Oxford University Press, 1999) is a gorgeous volume of illustrated poems arranged in chronological order. The book begins with American Indian chants and lullabies, the early 18th-century “Alphabet” from the New England Primer (“In Adam’s fall/We sinned all”), and Clement Clarke Moore’s 19th-century “Visit from St. Nicholas” and continues with works by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Gelett Burgess, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and many more. A delight for all ages.
 images-24 By John Lithgow, The Poets’ Corner (Grand Central Publishing, 2007) – subtitled “The One-and-Only Poetry Book for the Whole Family” – is a delight and I’m ashamed to say I almost didn’t pick it up. Lithgow begins the book with an essay on his own experiences with poetry; then embarks on the poems, in alphabetical order by poet, from Matthew Arnold to William Butler Yeats. For each, there’s background information on the life and times of the poet, a list of his/her best-known poems, and the featured poem with follow-up commentary.  It’s superb. For all ages.

NOT JUST YOUR ORDINARY POEMS

 images-25 A.A. Milne’s When We Were Very Young (Dutton Juvenile, 2009), originally published in 1924, includes such favorites as “Disobedience,” the story of James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree and his sadly straying mother, and “The King’s Breakfast,” in which the king simply wants a little butter for his bread. Follow this one up with Now We Are Six (Dutton Juvenile, 2008). For ages 3 and up.
 images-26 Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses (available in many editions), first published in 1885, includes such time-honored favorites as “Bed in Summer,” “Windy Nights,” “The Land of Counterpane,” and “The Unseen Playmate.” Particularly beautiful versions are those illustrated by Brian Wildsmith (Star Bright, 2008) and Barbara McClintock (HarperCollins, 2011). For ages 4-8.
  The text of A Child’s Garden of Verses is online at the Poetry Lovers page.
  From Dover Publications, A Child’s Garden of Verses Coloring Book has a selection of Stevenson’s poems with accompanying blackline ready-to-color illustrations by Nancy Haase Tafuri.
 images-27 By Anna Grossnickle Hines, Pieces: A Year in Poems and Quilts (Greenwillow Books, 2003) is a collection of seasonal poems illustrated with quilt blocks. For ages 4 and up.
 images-28 Nancy Willard’s Newbery-winner, A Visit to William Blake’s Inn (Sandpiper, 1982), with beautiful illustrations by Alice and Martin Provensen, is a creative collection of poems based on Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. Titles include “A Rabbit Reveals My Room,” “The Sun and Moon Circus Soothes the Wakeful Guests,” “The Man in the Marmalade Hat Arrives,” and “The Tiger Asks Blake for a Bedtime Story.” Not to be missed. For all ages.
 images-29 Ogden Nash’s The Tale of Custard the Dragon (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 1998) is a picture-book version of the rollicking rhyming tale of Belinda and Custard, her “realio, trulio little pet dragon” – and a total coward until the fatal day when Belinda is attacked by a pirate. For ages 4-8.
  Read The Tale of Custard the Dragon online.
  For many more books and resources, see DRAGONS.
  The Best of Ogden Nash (Ivan R. Dee, 2007) is the definitive Nash anthology, 548 poems by America’s “poet laureate of light verse.” For all ages.
  At the Poemhunter website, a selection of the Poems of Ogden Nash includes such favorites as “The Adventures of Isabel” (“Isabel met an enormous bear/Isabel, Isabel didn’t care”).
 images-30 Compiled by Paul Janeczko, Dirty Laundry Pile (HarperCollins, 2001) is an imagination-expanding collection of “poems in different voices,” with lovely watercolor illustrations by Melissa Sweet. Among the voices are those of a shell, a scarecrow, a snowflake, a turtle, and even – yes – a pile of dirty laundry. For ages 4 and up.
 images-31 Mary O’Neill’s Hailstones and Halibut Bones (Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 1990), originally published in 1961, is an illustrated collection of twelve poems about colors, each introduced with “What Is…?” “What Is Black?,” for example, begins “Black is the night/When there isn’t a star…” Not only a lovely read, but a great start for writing color poems of your own. For ages 4-9.
 images-32 Shel Silverstein’s cleverly subversive collections of verse include A Giraffe and a Half (HarperCollins, 1964), Where the Sidewalk Ends (HarperCollins, 1974), A Light in the Attic (HarperCollins, 1981), and Falling Up (HarperCollins, 1996). For ages 5 and up.
  The Shel Silverstein: Official Site for Kids has information on Silverstein’s children’s books, an author biography, games and activities for kids, and teacher’s guides and lesson plans to accompany the books.
 images-33 J. Patrick Lewis’s World Rat Day (Candlewick, 2013) is a poetic celebration of such real-but-neglected holidays as Dragon Appreciation Day, World Turtle Day, and International Cephalopod Awareness Day. For ages 5-8.
 images-34 Marilyn Singer’s Mirror Mirror (Dutton Juvenile, 2010) and sequel Follow Follow (Dial, 2013) are fascinating collections of palindromic poems – “reversos” – that put a whole new spin on familiar fairy tales. The poems are paired side by side on a page – first read forward, then backward – and there lies all the difference: the story of Hansel and Gretel, for example, read forward, is narrated by the witch, urging Hansel to fatten up; read backwards, it’s a caution to do just the opposite. Included are instructions for writing reversos of your own. A cool project for ages 7 and up.
 images-35 By Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Grumbles from the Forest (Wordsong, 2013) is an illustrated collection of fifteen classic fairy tales told with a twist, through paired poems. Beauty daydreams before her marriage (“I can’t get past/ his fangs, his roar”) and then writes nostalgically on a distant anniversary (“Beast and I/putter in the garden…I have no regrets/None.”). Cinderella complains about the glass slipper (“I could have put on/moccasins”) and the stepsisters complain of her move to the palace; the Princess and the Pea both present their points of view. Kids will want to invent their own fairy-tale character poems. For ages 7 and up.
 images-36 Neil Gaiman’s Instructions (HarperCollins, 2010), the picture-book version of a poem that first appeared in A Wolf at the Door and Other Retold Fairy Tales (Aladdin, 2001), are magical step-by-step directions for navigating a fairy-tale landscape. (“Trust the wolves, but do not tell them where you are going.”) All ages.
  For many more books and resources, see FAIRY TALES.
 images-37 Valerie Worth’s All the Small Poems and Fourteen More (Square Fish, 1996) is a collection of over 100 “small poems” celebrating the wonders of the everyday. The table of contents alone might serve as poem starters for potential poetry writers: Worth’s (lower-case) titles include “cow,” “duck,” “door,” “daisies,” “crickets,” “acorn,” “flamingo,” “haunted house,” “soap bubble,” and “lions.” All ages.
images-61 David Pelham’s Trail (Little Simon, 2007) is an (almost) all-white paper pop-up book of poetry, in which a series of simple rhyming couplets follow a snail along a silver trail through the day, ending the journey at a forest pond at sunset. For ages 7-12.
 images-38 T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (Harcourt Children’s Books), originally published in 1939, is a collection of the wonderful poems that inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats. Poems include such favorites as “The Naming of Cats,” “Mr. Mistoffelees,” and “Macavity: The Mystery Cat.” For all ages.
  Read Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats online or download the text.
  For many more books and resources, see CATS.
 images-39 Paul Fleischman’s Newbery winner Joyful Noise (HarperCollins, 2004) is a collection of fourteen  terrific poems about insects – everything from the firefly to the cricket, book louse, mayfly, and honeybee – all designed to be read in two alternating voices. For ages 8 and up.
  Also by Fleischman, see I Am the Phoenix (HarperCollins, 1989), fifteen poems for two voices, all about birds.
 images-40 More voices! Paul Fleischman’s Big Talk: Poems for Four Voices (Candlewick, 2008) is a collaborative poetry experience in which each reader chooses a color (green, yellow, orange, or purple) and then reads the appropriate color-coded lines of the poem. For ages 9-13.
 images-41 In Don Marquis’s archy and mehitabel (Anchor, 1987), originally published in 1927, archy is a highly literate cockroach who types by leaping on the typewriter keys (he can’t use the Shift key; hence no capital letters) and his friend mehitabel, an alley cat, who claims in a past life to have been Cleopatra. archy’s reflections on life, all in free verse, are now an American classic. For ages 13 and up.
 images-42 David Morice’s Poetry Comics (Teachers & Writers Books, 2002) is an irreverent and hilarious collection of classic poems, unconventionally illustrated. Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”), for example, is recited by monsters; both Walt Whitman and Edgar Allan Poe’s Raven are depicted as superheroes; and “I think that I shall never see/A poem lovely as a tree” – when spoken by a tree – becomes a tree-style pick-up ploy. Included are instructions for making your own poetry comics. For teenagers and adults.
  COOL CONCRETE POEMS
 images-43 Joan Bransfield Graham’s brightly illustrated Flicker Flash (Sandpiper, 2003) is a collection of 23 concrete poems about many aspects of light, from birthday candles to fireflies, moonlight, light bulbs, and lightning. For ages 4-9.
 images-44 Also by Graham, Splish Splash (Sandpiper, 2001) is a collection of concrete poems about water, from rain, hail, and dew to waterfalls, popsicles, steam, and crocodile tears. For ages 4-9.
 images-45 J. Patrick Lewis’s Doodle Dandies (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2002) is a delightful collection of concrete poems, using a creative mix of word shapes and photographs. Subjects include skyscrapers, giraffes, dachshunds, and baseball. For ages 5-10.
 images-46 By John Grandits, Technically It’s Not My Fault (Sandpiper, 2004) is a terrific collection of concrete poems, supposedly written by a snarky eleven-year-old named Robert. Titles include “Skateboard,” “My Sister Is Crazy,” “Bloodcurdling Screams,” and “It’s Not Fair,” which last involves forbidden fireworks.
 images-47 Also by Grandits, Blue Lipstick (Sandpiper, 2007) is a collection of concrete poems supposedly written by a fifteen-year-old girl, Jessie. Titles include “Bad Hair Day.” “Talking to My Stupid Younger Brother Is Like Swimming Upstream in a River to Nowhere,” “Zombie Jocks,” and “Pocket Poem.”
 images-48 Paul B. Janeczko’s A Poke in the I (Candlewick, 2005) is a wonderful collection of 30 concrete poems – that is, poems that have two-dimensional shapes, or in which the arrangement of words and letters contributes to the meaning of the poem – by some extraordinary visual poets, among them John Hollander and Douglas Florian. For all ages.
  WICKED POEMS
 images-49 Maurice Sendak’s Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue (HarperCollins, 1991) is the rhyming tale of the obnoxious Pierre, who simply doesn’t care – until he’s gobbled up (not permanently) by a hungry lion and learns a useful lesson. For ages 4-8.
 images-50 Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes (Puffin, 2009) are wickedly clever and hilariously funny poetic spins on traditional fairy tales, with  – the perfect accompaniment – illustrations by Quentin Blake. Dahl’s “Cinderella,” for example, begins: “I guess you think you know this story./You don’t. The real one’s much more gory./The phony one, the one you know/Was cooked up years and years ago/And made to sound all soft and sappy/Just to keep the children happy.” Mayhem, murder, and mockery for ages 6-9. Also by Dahl, see Dirty Beasts (Puffin, 2002).
 images-51 Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales for Children (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002) – this edition with illustrations by Edward Gorey – are tongue-in-cheek rhymes about children who misbehave and come to disproportionately dreadful ends, such as “Jim, Who ran away from his Nurse and was eaten by a Lion” and “Rebecca, Who slammed Doors for fun and Perished Miserably.” A sure bet for fans of Roald Dahl. For all ages.
 images-52 Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1997) is a rhyming alphabet book from the dark side, documenting the demise of a raft of Victorian children, beginning with Amy (who fell down the stairs) and Basil (assaulted by bears.)
  See the complete illustrated Gashlycrumb Tinies online.

POETRY BY HEART

Jean Kerr’s Penny Candy (Fawcett Crest Books, 1971) – an hilarious memoir of family life with five sons – is now out of print, but well worth tracking down, if for nothing other than Kerr’s essay “The Poet and the Peasants.” This is an account of Kerr family “Culture Hour,” in which the boys were first made to memorize and recite – and then came to love – poetry.

 images-53 The poetry slam, which first became popular in the 1990s, is a performance event in which poets read or (memorize and) recite their works. (Try it?)
 images-54 Sara Holbrook’s Wham! It’s a Poetry Jam (Boyds Mills Press, 2002) is a nicely designed guide to performance poetry, with lots of exercises, suggestions, and 30 practice poems. Fun for ages 7-12.
 images-55 At Poetry Out Loud, website of the National Recitation Contest, kids can find poems, watch examples of great recitations, and get helpful performance hints. Also at the site is a large assortment of lesson plans on aspects of poem memorization and recitation. Targeted at high-school-level students.
 images-56 Mary Ann Hoberman’s Forget Me Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012) is a collection of over 120 poems particularly suited to learning by heart – by 57 different poets, among them Robert Louis Stevenson, Carl Sandburg, Edward Lear, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, and Christina Rossetti. For ages 7-10.
 images-57 Performance poems? Paul Janeczko’s 64-page A Foot in the Mouth: Poems to Speak, Sing, and Shout (Candlewick, 2009) is an illustrated collection of great read-aloud poems, including poems for two, three, and many voices, list poems, bilingual poems, and tongue-twisters. Among these are Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky,” the witches’ chant from Macbeth, and Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing.” For ages 8 and up.
Compiled by Patrice Vecchione, Whisper and Shout (Cricket Books/Marcato, 2002) is a collection of over 50 poems for kids to memorize, among them Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” Lewis Carroll’s “Beautiful Soup,” Gelett Burgess’s “The Purple Cow,” and Carl Sandburg’s “Fog.” For ages 9 and up.
 images-59 Edited by John Hollander, Committed to Memory (Turtle Point Press, 2000) is an elegant collection of the “100 Best Poems to Memorize.” It’s a challenging collection, divided among “Sonnets,” “Songs,” “Counsels,” “Tales,” and “Meditations.” Among the to-be-memorized are Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky,” Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan,” Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach,” and Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat,” which takes up three full pages. For teenagers and adults.

For many more books and resources, see POETRY II and POETRY III.

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Celebrating Carrots

 

April 4th is International Carrot Day. February 3rd is National Carrot Cake Day. January is National Carrot Month. Summer is when carrots actually grow in the garden. And you can eat them, of course, all year round. In other words, almost every day is Carrot Day.

 

 imgres Listen to the National Carrot Day Anthem. Sung by carrots.
 imgres-1 Carrot stamps! Zazzle sells customized first-class postage stamps, just for National Carrot Month.
 imgres-2 All things carrot! The World Carrot Museum is surely the most comprehensive carrot site on the Web, featuring everything from carrot history and carrot recipes to carrot musical instruments, carrot toys, and carrots in the fine arts.
 imgres-3 My non-fiction book, How Carrots Won the Trojan War (Storey Publishing, 2011) is an award-winning science and history of garden vegetables. It’s an adult book, but is packed with stories and information adaptable for a wide range of educational and just plain interesting purposes. Find out, for example, about the Burmese Cucumber King, the pirate who discovered bell peppers, and what corn has to do with vampires. For carrot-lovers, learn about Peter Rabbit’s diet, Henry Ford’s carrot obsession, and how carrots helped win not only the Trojan War but World War II.

Carrot Books

 imgres-4 By Jol Temple and Kate Temple, Parrot Carrot (Allen & Unwin, 2012) is a quirky picture-book mash-up of pairs of rhyming objects – such as a parrot carrot, moose goose, and snake rake.  For ages 3-5.
 imgres-5 In Ruth Krauss’s classic The Carrot Seed (HarperCollins, 2004), a little boy (in beanie and overalls) plants a carrot seed and tends it devotedly, even though everybody around him insists that “it won’t come up.” He’s rewarded for his faith and patience with a perfectly enormous carrot. For ages 3-6.
 imgres-6 Scholastic’s Carrot Seed Lesson Plan suggests that kids make a “seed museum,” pairing samples of real seeds and drawings of the plants they will become with audio recordings telling about each type of seed.
 imgres-7 Jan Peck’s The Giant Carrot (Dial, 1998) is a version of the Russian folktale “The Turnip.” Here it’s set on a tumbledown farm in the U.S. (there’s a cabin, complete with derelict car on cinderblocks) where Little Isabelle’s singing and dancing miraculously produce a humongous carrot. Included are recipes for carrot pudding and carrot stew. For ages 3-8.
 imgres-8 In John Segal’s Carrot Soup (Margaret K. McElderry, 2006), Rabbit loves to garden – but after a summer of tending his carrot crop, he finds to his dismay that all the carrots have disappeared. His animal friends deny any knowledge of missing carrots – though it’s clear from the background illustrations that they’re all busily harvesting them and hauling them away. All ends happily, however, with a surprise party for Rabbit and a meal of his favorite carrot soup. Included is a carrot soup recipe. For ages 3-8.
 imgres-9 In Aaron Reynolds’s Creepy Carrots (Simon & Schuster, 2012), with great black-and-orange illustrations by Peter Brown, Jasper Rabbit has been greedily gobbling carrots, and now the carrots have caught up with him. Soon he’s seeing ominous carrots everywhere and hearing the “soft…sinister…tunktunktunk of carrots creeping.” For ages 4-8.
 imgres-10 In H.A. Rey’s Curious George: The Perfect Carrot (Harcourt, 2010), George – with the help of the Man in the Yellow Hat – plants a garden of carrots, but then decides that his prize carrot is too perfect for anyone to eat. Until, that is, his friend Bill’s pet bunnies show up, lost and hungry. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-11 In Lauren Child’s I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato (Candlewick, 2003), Lola, a determinedly fussy eater, not only rejects tomatoes, but almost everything else as well, including potatoes, peas, fish sticks, and carrots. Imaginative big brother Charlie changes her mind by giving food a whole new spin: potatoes are cloud fluff from Mount Fuji; fish sticks are mermaid food; tomatoes are moonsquirters. And carrots? They’re orange twiglets from Jupiter. For ages 4-8.
 imgres-12 By Susan M. Freese and Jan Westberg, Carrots to Cupcakes (Super Sandcastle, 2008) is a cartoon-illustrated activity book on reading, writing, and reciting poetry through poems about food. Included are twelve food poems by such kid-friendly poets as Jack Prelutsky and Kenn Nesbit, examples of student work, and explanations of basic poetry concepts. For ages 6-9.
  Also see GARDENING, EAT YOUR VEGGIES, and RABBITS!

 Carrots and Science

 imgres-13 TLC’s Nature Garden Activities for Kids has instructions for making your own root-view box from a half-gallon milk carton. Perfect for carrots.
 imgres-14 Soda Bottle Carrots has instructions for growing  carrots in 3-liter soda bottles. (Very small kitchen gardens.)
 imgres-15 Pair the above with Mari Schuh’s Carrots Grow Underground (Capstone Press, 2011), a simple account of how carrots grow, illustrated with bright color photographs.
 imgres-16 From the World Carrot Museum, Kids Experiments With Carrots has instructions for several carrot-based science projects, among them sprouting carrot tops, making a hanging carrot garden, building a carrot battery, and studying osmosis with carrots.
Honey, I Shrunk the Carrots is a more detailed study of osmosis in carrots for middle-school students, Included are instructions and lists of questions to investigate.
 imgres-17 What do carrots have to do with the Dead Sea? Float Me If You Can is an investigation of floating and sinking using various kinds of liquids and solutions. And carrots.
How much water is in a carrot? Squeezing Water From a Carrot has an experimental procedure for figuring this out, along with a short list of research questions for early-elementary students.

Carrots and Math

 imgres-18 Stuart J. Murphy’s Just Enough Carrots (HarperCollins, 1997), a MathStart 1 book, introduces concepts of more, fewer, and the same as a small rabbit, accompanying his mother to the grocery store, compares numbers of items in their shopping cart to those of other shoppers. (He’d like fewer peanuts and more carrots.) For ages 4-8.
 imgres-19 Carrot Crunch is a free downloadable addition game for early-elementary students played with dice and printable carrot number lines.
 imgres-20 Landing in the Carrot Patch is a math challenge for middle-school-level kids. Brad the Bunny, bent on nabbing carrots, is parachuting into Farmer McGee’s garden. Given the (printable) map of the garden, what are his chances of landing in the carrot patch?
 imgres-21 Using these printable Play Dough Math Mats, preschoolers use play dough to “plant” the correct number of carrots for each rabbit to eat.
 imgres-22 At Buying Carrots, two people have carrots for sale and shoppers need to determine which is the better deal. The trick: you’re calculating carrots in pounds and ounces and cost in old-fashioned British pounds, shillings, and pence.

Arts, Crafts, and Carrots

 imgres-23 This You Tube video from Simple Kids Crafts shows how to make Paper Carrot Sweets. You’ll need orange paper, green crepe paper, and glue. (Candy optional.)
 imgres-24 Creating a Carrot for Preschool Art has instructions for making both carrot prints (which involves real carrots and mixing paint to make the color orange) and a stuffed paper carrot, for which you’ll need brown paper bags, orange paint, and green curling ribbon.
 imgres-25 Make Papier-Mache Carrot Pencils! (Draw carrots with them.)
 imgres-26 Origami Carrot has step-by-step video instructions for making a folded origami carrot.
 Carrot Cupcakes - Fun Food - Living Locurto Make particularly adorable Carrot Cupcakes in miniature flowerpots. The “dirt” is chocolate cake; the carrots are made of candy and mint leaves.
 P1320316 This great homemade paper-pocket Carrot Garden Alphabet Game could easily be converted into an all-about-carrots quiz.
 imgres-27 Vegetable Instruments has instructions for making several, including a carrot ocarina and a multi-carrot pan flute.
  From PBS Kids, Edible Instruments has illustrated instructions for making a carrot strummer (and an eggplant clapper).

Quest for the Magic Carrot

 imgres-28 Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot (Playroom Entertainment) is a fast-paced card game in which players compete to eliminate each other’s bunnies and capture the prized Magic Carrot.  Bunnies can be done in with anything from a Magic Spatula to a Flame Thrower, or you can starve enemy Bunnies by withholding Cabbages. There are multiple expansion sets, which provide additional features and more bunnies. For 2-8 players ages 8 and up. About $22 from Amazon.
 imgres-29 Magic Carrot is a clever interactive online game in which a little rabbit must solve successive Rube-Goldberg-ish puzzles in order to find the Magic Carrot and save his sick friend.

 

 

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Perfect Pigs

 

PIGS! There’s Pooh’s best friend Piglet, in A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh; Sesame Street’s glamorous Miss Piggy (of the lavender gloves); Warner Brothers’ stuttering Porky; and the spooky episode in Homer’s Odyssey, when the sorceress Circe turns Odysseus’s men into pigs. Taran, hero of Lloyd Alexander’s  Chronicles of Prydain series, is an assistant pig-keeper, in charge of the visionary pig Hen Wen. Stalinist pigs Squealer, Napoleon, and Snowball take over George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

More pigs? Famous Pigs has detailed information on many famous pigs, both imaginary and real, with illustrations.

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Women’s History (Not Just For Girls)

 

Women’s history! The number of books and resources is…well, overwhelming. And they’re not just for girls.

See below for some great picks in Herstory, Suffragists: Fighting for Rights, Trailblazing and Triumphs, and Stories (and Poems) about Brave Women and Strong Girls.

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