Thursday, February 8, 2018

Poetry Friday - All For The Family

           
           Sally Murphy from way down under hosts today! Thanks, Sally, wishing you and everyone else a loving Valentine's Day!  In her welcoming post, Sally shared her "dental" version of terse verse. Be sure to see her versions. Here's mine.



A Terse Verse Valentine for Anyone in Love
Mush Crush


          Speaking of love, according to Pliny the Elder, "Home is where the heart is." Unless you're a black-tailed prairie dog, then it's underground. Or if you're a king cobra, it's in a pile of leaves. White storks find their hearts, uh, homes, on chimney tops. These animal homes and others can be found celebrated poetically in David L. Harrison's new poetry collection, A Place To Start A Family: Poems About Creatures Who Build, illustrated by Giles Laroche. 
          The diversity of poems that fill the pages parallel the diversity of animals written about, poems that will begin a journey of wonder about other animals' homes and construction prowess. There are four sections—building underground, on land, in the water, and in the air and a bonus poem at the end. Why? Because it is so unique a "home builder" that it doesn't fit in the earlier sections! 
           I recognized some of these animals, like the star-nosed mole that David describes in part: "I keep my babies/ safe and dry,/ but otherwise/ I don't deny--/I love it wet/and full of bugs, worms, beetles,/ grubs, and slugs."  And I know of the yellow garden spiders whose baby spiderlings hatch "the size of dust/sail away on gentle gust/to decorate another yard."  



          The incredible protection created by these creatures amazes with what appears to be instinct, that need to ensure the endurance of its species. David's poetic words uniquely respect each. That three-spined stickleback fish weaves its home underwater: "See the tunnel?/See the mound?/See I made it/nice and round?. . ."The best nest/that's ever been!/Please,/Ms. Stickleback, swim in." David's poems from "in the air"  include the red ovenbird and questions. I imagine reading this poem aloud with the repeating verses becoming increasingly louder because of the awe in viewing the nest. Here are a couple of verses: "How do you know/to weave/like that? and Make it round/with twigs/like that?" I also imagine students reading and hearing this and understanding that they too might try a poem with questions. 
           David and Giles Laroche collaborated and created an earlier book, Now You See Them, Now you Don't: Poems About Creatures That Hide, which I reviewed here. Giles again has used cut paper collages on what the book says is "a series of hand-painted papers." His art enhances the poems with depth and clarity, so much that I wanted to reach out and lift some off the page. Here is one double-page spread that I loved, with a favorite of the poems.




            I asked David to share the book's genesis. He replied: "The idea for this book was suggested by the artist, Giles Laroche. He has a background in architectural painting and has published his own successful books, including If You Lived Here and What’s Inside? Giles and I partnered on a 2016 book, Now You See Them, Now You Don’t and we were looking for something new. He suggested a book to feature various structures animals create and I loved the idea. We worked together from the beginning. I developed a list of potential subjects. He added his own nominees. We shared the list with our editor, Karen Boss, and eventually selected our cast of characters. After that, I wrote until the process was complete and the action moved to Giles to add his magic touch." 

            There is added information at the back of the book for each animal plus "Learn More" sections, too. It's a terrific non-fiction poetry collection that will inspire everyone, children to adults, to discover more about these interesting creatures, and perhaps look for others to add to the collection David and Giles created.
            
           Thanks to David for answering my question and for giving me permission to share. He  holds the copyright for this book, which is published by Charlesbridge.



63 comments:

  1. Thanks for introducing me to this book, and to David and Giles' work. I love the way they are sharing intriguing facts in such a beautiful way.

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    1. It's a wonderful book and so interesting, plus poetic and great to look at!

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    2. Thank you, Sally. I hope you enjoy it if you get a copy.

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  2. Oops. Forgot to say that your terse verse made me giggle.

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  3. Ooooh, I've read "Now You See Them Now You Don't", but not this!! I'm off to place a hold at my library!

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    1. It's another wonderful one by these two! Glad you can find it, Jane! Thanks!

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    2. Hi Jane. Glad you liked NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON'T. Giles has done another great job of illustrating our new collaboration. I hope to have another chance to work with him in the future.

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  4. This sounds like a terrific addition to any poetry/science collection. And I always love to hear the back story behind the book. This is one I'd definitely love to own!

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    1. My youngest granddaughter's class has been studying insects this year, and it will be a great addition for them to see how they can use those facts to write poetry! Thanks, Carol. I hope you enjoy it, too!

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    2. Carol, my thanks to Linda for providing the back story for this collection. I think this is my twentieth book of poetry and is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

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  5. Sally M, thanks for hosting. Linda B, thanks for posting. I'm honored to be featured today! Giles and I are proud of the new collaboration and appreciate all efforts to help us get the news about it out there. If you haven't visited me on my blog, I'm at http://davidlharrison.wordpress.com

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    1. You're welcome, David. This newest book is lovely, and deserves a headline! Thanks for the opportunity!

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  6. Wonderful review, Linda! I'm excited about reading this book now. Love the sample poem you shared (gorgeous art!).

    And MUSH CRUSH is fantastic :).

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    1. Hi Jama,
      I hope you do see a copy and like what you see!

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  7. I love it. I'll have to read it. The art looks wonderful.

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    1. Brenda, the art is indeed wonderful. And I throw in a few poems. (:>

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  8. I'm rooting for the White-Spotted Pufferfish! Didn't think that would be a valentine-y topic, but then again, I did post about romantic salt today so I guess you never know!

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    1. Ha! For such a little fellow the puffer works harder than most creatures to improve his love life. I root for him too!

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  9. Thanks for sharing this collection. This is the type of book I enjoy. I put it on hold at my library. They do not have Now You See Them, Now you Don't: Poems About Creatures That Hide, but maybe I can get my hands on it. I am looking forward to reading both.

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    1. Thanks for trying. Maybe they can find it for you from another library. I'm happy they have this one!

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  10. Dear David, thanks for being here, and thanks to everyone else for coming by and checking on this new book. I've been gone the rest of the day with my granddaughter, Ingrid, now will take her home. We have snow!

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  11. What a cool book. Thank you for sharing it. It looks fascinating

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    1. Thank you, Kay. I'm grateful to Linda for putting this new title on display.

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  12. Oh, I so enjoyed the pufferfish poem. I need to add this book to my wish list!

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    1. Thank you, Linda. I loved writing the poems for this one and I'm a big fan of Giles's work.

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  13. I can't wait to see this book! It will make a fabulous addition to my NF Poetry collection!

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    1. Hi, Mary Lee, and thank you. My educational background in science is a well I've returned to many times over the years. More books are on the way.

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  14. Thanks Kay, Linda and Mary Lee. Yes, it's a wonderful, and new, book to add to nf collections!

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  15. I love the pufferfish poem! Thanks so much for introducing me to another great book.

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    1. Sarah, I'm delighted that you enjoyed my poem and I'm grateful to Linda for her wonderful review.

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  16. What a treasure of a collection, Linda! I now have another poetry voice to add to my nonfiction collection. Thank you!

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    1. Glad to meet you, Tara! Come visit me on my blog or on my website for more information. But for now I'm very happy to hear that you like what you see today!

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  17. Thanks, Sarah & Tara, so happy you like the introduction to this book. Hope you enjoy it as I do!

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  18. We have Now You See Them, Now You Don't at the Library, I'll have to order this one, too! Thanks for the recommendation, Linda.

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    1. Yes, "Now You See Them" is terrific, too. Glad to share about this new one, Diane. Thanks!

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    2. Hi Diane,
      Thanks for the interest in both books. My thanks again to Linda for pointing them out.

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  19. Wow - This looks/sounds like another WINNER! Congrats, David - and this continuing collaboration appears to be magic. :0) Linda, many thanks for sharing.

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    1. You're welcome, Robyn, it was great fun to write about this latest wonderful book by David and Giles.

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    2. Hello, Robyn! I'm delighted you like Linda's review. Hope you'll see a copy and like that too!

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  20. Linda, Thank you for this wonderful post with information from the author! My students and I just read this and really enjoyed the poems along with the art work.

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    1. Terrific to hear, Mandy. David will love hearing about your students enjoying the poems and the art, too. My granddaughters enjoyed it, fun to share. One biggest regret from retirement is that I no longer have a class with whom to share all the wonderful books. Thanks for sharing!

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    2. Mandy, that's terrific! Thank you for sharing your experience. What grade do you teach?

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  21. This looks like such a beautiful book!

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    1. It is, Ruth. Hope you'll enjoy it when you can find a copy!

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    2. Good morning, Ruth, and thank you for your kind words. I hope you'll like the whole book if you get a chance to see it.

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  22. What a brilliant idea! I love collections like this and can't wait to get a copy. Thank you for sharing, Linda!

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    1. Yes, these nf poetry books are wonderful for the classroom.

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    2. And thank YOU, Reading to the Core!

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  23. Terrific review, Linda! So happy to get a peak inside the companion to NOW YOU SEE THEM. No doubt the pair of books will start a family on many a bookshelf. :) Congratulations to David and Giles for another wonderful collaboration!

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    1. Hi Michelle,
      Many thanks for your ongoing support of my work. I appreciate it very much!

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    2. Thank you, Michelle. Kids will gain so much knowledge about the animals in these books and about poetry, too.

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  24. Wow--I didn't know this book was coming! So useful in the primary grades. Thanks for highlighting another Harrison hit!

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    1. Heidi! Good to hear from you and happy that you now know about this new one. Hope all is well and good with you.

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    2. It will be great, Heidi. I'm giving one to the youngest granddaughter's class who are studying insects. They will love it! Thanks!

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  25. I'm truly enchanted by this book both the poems and the art. I saw it reviewed first this past January on Kathy Temean's blog. I love the spread you shared with the white spotted puffer fish. Thanks Linda, David, and Giles; I look forward to reading a copy myself!

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    1. Thank you, Michelle! I'm eager for you to see the book in person and hope your verdict is still good!

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    2. Hope you enjoy all the rest of it, Michelle. It's so interesting to see Giles' art along with how craftily David sneaks the 'facts' into his poems!

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  26. Stunning! Giles does a residency with our 2nd Graders each year and watching him work (and then them work) with those magic scissors is mesmerizing! Thank you for this. -- Christie https://wonderingandwondering.wordpress.com/

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    1. You and your students are lucky. I've yet to meet Giles in person although we have exchanged lots of e-mails.

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    2. Wow, Christie, that is awesome to be able to work with Giles. I hope you share some of the students' art sometime. They will love his and David's book, have a special connection!

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  27. I love these stories of collaboration! This sounds like a winning book. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. You're welcome, Joyce. It is wonderful when great things come from collaboration, I agree.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!