Shrinking Days, Frosty Nights: Poems about Fall
Do Buses Eat Kids? Poems about School
And Then There Were Eight: Poems about Space
Tiny Dreams, Sprouting Tall: Poems about the United States
Seed Sower, Hat Thrower: Poems about Weather
All written by Laura Purdie Salas
published by Capstone, 2008
If an elementary classroom could have access to only one set of poetry books, this series by Laura Purdie Salas should be it. Designed to be read independently by an early reader or read aloud to someone younger, each book also provides marvelous and accessible examples of literary and poetry styles that could easily be used by older students. Purdie Salas plays with free verse, acrostic, haiku, couplet and limerick poems. In Seed Sower, Hat Thrower: Poems about Weather, fog tells us “I gulp headlights/blanket bridges/seep under your skin/until slices of sun/sizzle me away”. Her language dances with alliteration, rhyme and imagery: a locker is a treasure chest, a clock the minute-master of the day. Simple, descriptive titles like “Winter Blooms”, “Me, Me, Me”, or “Ice Writers” coupled with the accompanying photographs tell the reader exactly what the poem is about.
The images in each book are captivating, like coffee table picture books pulling you through their pages. The irresistible, brilliant colors and shapes capture panoramic and close-up shots, historic images and those from everyday life. All the people featured, except where highlighting an historic figure, are children. The back of the book provides a plethora of additional resources. “The Language of Poetry” section gives a brief description of the literary or poetic device used in each poem, a glossary provides definitions and pronunciations for difficult words and “Read More” refers to other books on the topic.
These outstanding poetry books by Laura Purdie Salas are not just for those interested in poetry but are also full of endless tie-ins to core curricula. Writing classes can use the poems to begin thinking about ordinary things in new ways. Simple glimpses into complex ideas like nebulas, the Northern Lights and the planets in And Then There Were Eight: Poems about Space are a great way to introduce scientific topics. Geography and History classes can use Tiny Dreams, Sprouting Tall: Poems about the United States to begin discussion about the Grand Canyon, Native Americans or Dr. Martin Luther King. Any school would benefit from having these exceptional books in their library.
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