Monday, April 25, 2022

It's Monday - Final one of Poetry Month

     Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and 

Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they and others have been reading! Your TBR lists will grow! 
    from Cheriee at Library MattersJust a reminder to everyone participating in #MustReadIn2022,  I will host an (entirely optional) update at the end of the month.
           I'm writing a poem every day in April for Poetry Month. Come visit, or, visit Jama's Alphabet Soup here for all the ways poets are celebrating this month.

             I have three new poetry books to share for this final Monday of Poetry Month. There are more that have recently been published, but these are the recent ones I've read. Other books read are at the end. 
             Also, FYI! Friday is "Poem in your Pocket" Day. I'm sharing a poem I wrote about a pocket on that day. Be sure to choose a poem to carry with you on Friday!

        Perfect time for #PoetryMonth and for becoming mesmerized while learning about the wonders of space. Sally M. Walker writes haiku, both descriptive and full of tidbits of the facts. Each part has a small organizational piece in the bottom corners, starting first with "constellations and astronomers", and ending with "asteroids, comets, and meteors." I like the idea of this one in "stars" especially.
                        brilliant nebula
                        cloud pregnant with gas and dust
                        stellar nursery
Showing off Walker's haiku, Matthew Trueman's illustrations fill double-page spreads with his magical paintings, beautiful to see and to learn from. Anyone's study of space needs to add this book to their collection for both learning and appreciation of what we know is out there when we look up!
             Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

         I love the ocean and don't have its pleasure until an annual trip somewhere! Reading this new one by a poet friend whose online poetry class I have taken offers a delightful peek at what might happen one ocean day, if only one's imagination took hold. 
         Renée M LaTulippe lives by the sea on the coast of Italy and knows about poetry, and crabs, too. She has written of a fantastic time when crabs rise up to give a show, with seahorses, turtles, anemones, and more. Some pages include the entire 'company' but others focus only on those dancing crabs, so darling! And there are a few other extras in the background, ones you may have seen in their own beautiful ballet leaps--dolphins! 
        Not only is the story in rhyme accompanied by Cécile Metzger's fabulous watercolor illustrations. (See that cover!) Each page demands more than one look with all the detail. There is a glossary, too, at the back that explains the French ballet terms. Even the end covers fill one up with the beautiful sea creatures and plants.

                              "turtles spiral in between.
                                A seahorse pair glides on the scene,

                                bows deep and low, then soubresaut!
                                An elegant marine routine."

       If you did not know, "soubresaut" means "A sudden small leap in which the dancer jumps from two feet and lands in the same position."     

        For those who will love a bit of imaginary theater with the added salty theme, this new book will make you smile.

         It's a poem-in-your-pocket celebration from Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. Remember Read! Read! Read! and Write! Write! Write! and so many more? In this book, a young girl writes her own poem about carrying a poem, found or written. She spies a bird out the window and wonders what the bird would carry if it had pockets! Amy lets each of the nineteen animals share their own story in the poems while the child finishes up at the end. In varied, lyrical style, the science of the animals is there, cleverly included within the poem. A mother giraffe speaks of her and her young one's unique pattern: "My pattern is unique to me./Hers unique to her./Think fingerprints–/one of a kind./Know me by my fur." And a tarantula shows its unique meal prep: "I sink my fangs./They liquefy./I suck them down/like lemonade." While for some, kids will say, "ew-w-w". For others, they'll think, "Wow!" In "Metaphor in a Meadow", it ends with "I am a walking sky." I won't share what that is but it's an animal you may want to look at again because of Amy's clever poem. Poetry entertains and educates this time as Amy's lovely poems accompanied by Emma J. Virján's brightly colored full-page illustrations make a book every young reader will love. 

           I finished this quickly, having such a strong voice from William Wyatt Orser, an awkward 7th grader with a love of words, raised by only his mother from age four when his father died. Somewhere in the early years, people started calling him Worser, and it stuck. The novel shows a mother and her son, both introverts, who laid out their lives in a strict fashion. His mother was immersed in grief, and Worser loved the word sessions and learning from his mother until everything changed. His mother had a stroke, his aunt (her sister) comes to take care of them both, and we readers see a child who has no idea about usual conversations with anyone, who mightily resents his aunt's interference. He appears only to have two friends, one from his early years, a girl named Donya, and a boy named Herbie who, also an outcast, sits with him at lunch.      
           Happily, Worser finds a back table at an old bookstore that becomes a safe haven and when Donya's literary club loses its after-school space, Worser manages to help them meet at the bookstore. It's fun to see Worser realize he has a group, not so fun when his heart breaks a little as he learns Donya has another boy she likes a lot. Things come to both grief and a shock when Worser does something totally out of his nature. Jennifer Ziegler shows her knowledge of grief that calls out for a different need and knowledge than Worser believes he has. Loving a character and wanting to reach out to help makes the story touch loudly in my heart as it will for other readers, too.

         I took a long time to finish this and enjoyed a piece or two every night. John Green states in his afterword that some pieces came from his podcast and that's how it felt, listening to a podcast, reading brief essays about him, about him and varied "stuff". They made me think and connect to some parts of my own life journey, just as he wrote about his. I marked a few quotes that, while not exactly new thoughts to me, I wanted to remember the words again, like "One of the strange things about adulthood is that you are your current self, but you are also all the selves you used to be, the ones you grew out of but can't ever quite get rid of."  Also, "Atticus Finch defines courage by saying, 'It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway.'" Because it was recently Earth Day, I liked that Green enlightened me with a piece about Kentucky Bluegrass, something people appear to need and use way too much water to make it beautiful. The pieces vary which makes it satisfying and interesting reading. There are added notes at the back. I give it five stars! For those of you who have read it, you'll know exactly what I mean!

Next:  Erin Entrada Kelly's new one: Those Kids from Fawn Creek!


  1. Glad that I finally get to see students after three weeks of testing, so I can at least MENTION that April is poetry month. I found a box with a bulletin board for "Poem in Your Pocket" that had a pair of my daughter's elementary school jeans in it. She just got engaged and has been out of college for two years. Have a great reading week.

    1. Thanks for sharing, but now you can celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day & have a wonderful week of poetry!

  2. Thank you so much, Linda, for sharing our new book along with all of these wonderful books. I love THE CRAB BALLET and am looking forward to reading the other ones and to sharing John Green's latest with our girls. Your reading life truly inspires me, and so does your generosity. Thank you! Happy last week of National Poetry Month and ALMOST Poem in Your Pocket Day! xo, a.

    1. You're welcome, Amy. I love the book, & as I wrote on twitter, my only regret is not having a class to share it with on Poem in Your Pocket Day! We will do something at the bookstore, however. Enjoy the other books when you can & have a lovely week with more poetry!

  3. I love Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's poetry, but haven't yet read If This Bird Had Pockets. I'm sure it's lovely. As you know from my post, I enjoyed Worser, too. The cover of the book is really creative, too!

    1. Thanks, Lisa, I hope you enjoy Amy's book. It's great! And thanks for the reminder about Worser's cover. It is special & I wish I had noted that in my review, too.

  4. I loved loved loved The Anthropocene Reviewed. The essay on the hotdog stand in Iceland was my favorite... but that's because I've been to that hotdog stand in Iceland. :)

    1. Wow! I bet you screamed when you read that part, Beth. How marvelous is that! Yes, as you've seen, I stretched out the reading, loving every evening part. Thanks!

  5. I too am writing a poem a day, but not sharing anything. I am looking forward to poem in your pocket day, but haven't decided what poem to keep with me.
    I really appreciate your review of Worser. I had added it to my want to read list already, but now I think I better go and put a hold on the book on order.

    1. I love that you're writing every day, too, Cheriee. Perhaps you'd like to join us on Poetry Friday? It's a very welcoming group. Hope you love Worser when you can find the time! Thank you!

  6. I really liked this collection of books this week, Linda. I can add all of them to some of my lists. Seeing lots of love for Worser this week and If This Bird Had Pockets looks fun to read as well.

    1. That's great, Aaron. Each one held something special, whether in story, poetry, or topic. Thanks for telling me.


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