Friday, December 4, 2015

Fav Poetry Book 2015!

Howdy, Campers, and Happy Poetry Friday!  Buffy hosts today--her link is at the bottom.

The topic we TeachingAuthors are tossing around now? A favorite children's book we've read this year. Esther's weighed in with a touching picture book; I'm up to bat.

I almost went with the audio book of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time (read by the author!). This classic celebrated it's 50th anniversary three years ago, but it was in September, as I zoomed up the 405 freeway to pack up family memories, that I was transported by L'Engle's words...and her worlds.

But the book which electrified the poetry particles in my brain is Deborah Ruddell's inventive collection, The Popcorn Astronauts--And Other Biteable Rhymeswhimsically illustrated by Joan Rankin.

As soon as I read it, I searched for Ms. Ruddell on Facebook and (blush) sent her this fan mail:

Hi, Deborah! I just read The Popcorn Astronauts and I'm blown away by your oh-my-gosh-REALLY?? metaphors that are so out-of-the-box they leave me gasping. And inspired.  

Here's just a taste of how Ruddell sees at the world: fresh-popped kernels of corn are astronauts, a strawberry is royalty in a beaded suit, and raisins are wrinkled rocks with "the bold, enchanting taste of well-worn pirate socks." 

Raise your hand if you've ever struggled to describe peach skin. In fact, stop reading this and close your eyes. Try to imagine peach skin with fresh eyes. Can you describe it in a completely original way?

Okay--open your eyes..  Now, raise your hand if you came close to this"flannelpajamaty skin."

Here's a snippet of Jama Rattigan's fabulous book review and interview of Deborah Ruddell this spring:
Jama: Which poem was the most fun to write and why? Which poem was the hardest? Do you have a favorite?
Deborah: NO poem is ever easy for me to write. I am a slow and tormented poet! The hardest part is when I think I’ve almost got something, but it’s just out of reach. That happened with “Welcome to Watermelon Lake.” I had the image of the pink lake and the pale green shore, but making that image work as a poem was a struggle. Just when I thought I finally had it made, my editor suggested a third stanza in which I introduce the seeds! Argh!
Deborah's answer makes me feel better--I'm not alone!  And yet, look how effortlessly that poem seem to flow (click to enlarge):
In the same interview, Deborah said that the poet who most inspires her is Alice Shertle.  Me, too, me, too! 
So check out Poetry Friday at Buffy's today...thanks for hosting, Buffy!...then find this book and feast on it!
P.S: Check out the brand-new SCBWI Book Launch Parties!  Here's mineand here are 400+ more! 

posted joyously by April Halprin Wayland, with help from her elves, Monkey and Eli


jan godown annino said...

Appreciations for the peach prompt.
(I came up with "what's this heavy, soft ball that smells like candy?") I much prefer D.R's flannel p.j. lines!
And Joan Rankin's art from this poem & the cover will make kids want to swim & climb & eat their way in.

Irene Latham said...

Dear April, this is one of my faves, too! Fun and imaginative, all the way through. Thank you for showcasing. And for being the kind of gal who sends a fan letter. xo

Linda B said...

I think I might say I have poem-envy, April. I remember when Jama wrote about this book. It is so clever, and fun, all the things one wants in a child's poetry book. Thanks for reminding me about it. I need to get it!

Buffy Silverman said...

This is definitely on my want-to-own-it-right-now list! A Whiff of Pine, A Hint of Skunk is one of my favorite poetry books--Popcorn sounds like it will be too.

jama said...

I'm so excited that you picked this as your favorite book! Deborah's ingenuity, imagination and sense of whimsy are awe-inspiring. Hard to believe that she calls herself a slow tormented poet. But it does make me feel better. flannelpajamatyskin is just too cool (and I love that jama is in that word :D.

HATBOOKS Author Holly Thompson said...

Ah, great choice, April! Can't wait to read this!

Rosi said...

Fortunately, my library has this book. Unfortunately, it is checked out right now, but i will read it soon. Thanks for telling me about it.

Bobbi Miller said...

O my, I love the wordplay! What a glorious way to celebrate peaches! I can't wait to read it!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Jan ~ yes, yes...Joan Rankin's whimsy (and palette) completes this collection perfectly!

Irene ~ thanks for encouraging me with your fan letter comment...I rarely take the time to write one ~

Linda B ~ you've hit the nail on the head: Poem Envy!

Buffy ~ Yes ~ I can't wait to read her other collections

Jama ~ I hadn't noticed your name hiding in that perfect image!

Holly ~ I was lucky: I was asked to review it, so it fell in my lap :-)

Rosi ~ Your local librarian's on top of things--lucky you ~

Bobbi ~ yes, yes!

Carmela Martino said...

Although I know Deborah, I hadn't seen this book yet. Thanks for the recommendation, April. Sounds fab!

Sabrina Rose said...

These are great recommendations for a poetry unit. Last summer I helped teach a writing camp at Grand Valley State University and we focused on poetry for the week. I am excited to incorporate these new ideas into my box of tricks for next year! Thank you!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Carmela ~ it truly is fab ~

Sabrina Rose ~ I wish I could sit in on your class!

Nabanno Nondini ~ stick around long enough,write your deepest feelings and funniest, weirdest thoughts, read about different forms of poetry and imitate them, click on enough Poetry Friday links and..Tah Dah--you'll be on your way!