Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Tag Archives | Joyce Sidman

This Is Just To Say

April is Nation­al Poet­ry Month, which is as good an excuse as any to take some poet­ry books off the shelf and have a read. I’m quite method­i­cal in April—it’s the hint of spring in the air, I sup­pose. I clean my office and then I build a stack of won­der­ful poet­ry books—some Bil­ly Collins, a lit­tle Emi­ly Dick­in­son, a tome of Robert Frost, Shakespeare’s son­nets, Mary Oliv­er, nat­u­ral­ly…..

On top of this fine stack I put my col­lec­tion of Joyce Sid­man books. This means, to be hon­est, that I sel­dom make it down to the “grown-up” poets. Which is fine—I’m quite per­fect­ly hap­py wan­der­ing in Joyce’s books for the entire month. The oth­ers can be read…whenever. Joyce’s books have pic­tures. In the words and on the pages. I think all poets should be illus­trat­ed.

I say “Joyce,” all famil­iar like, because I know her. Which seems too fan­tas­tic to be true—I know none of those oth­er poets, except through their work. But Joyce I know—I saw her this past week­end, in fact. I hear her voice in her poems—even when it’s not her voice speak­ing. (I hear Bil­ly Collins in his poems, too, but Joyce’s voice is not so dead­pan.)

We’re sev­er­al days into April and I’ve yet to make it past the book that is pos­si­bly my favorite in my Joyce Sid­man col­lec­tion: This is Just To Say: Poems of Apol­o­gy and For­give­ness. It’s a slim volume—paperback. Some­times it gets shoved back on my book­case and I pan­ic when I look up and don’t see it right away. It’s illus­trat­ed by Pamela Zagaren­s­ki, an artist whose web­site I some­times vis­it just to browse and mut­ter her last name over and over again like its own poem. She has illus­trat­ed a few of Joyce’s books. They are an inspired pair, I think.

I bought this book as soon as I saw that the very first poem was, as I sus­pect­ed, William Car­los William’s “This Is Just To Say,” one of my most favorite poems. Anoth­er of his poems “The Red Wheel Bar­row” is one of the only poems I’ve man­aged to keep mem­o­rized since col­lege. I recite it when walk­ing some­times still.

Joyce uses William’s poem, “This is Just To Say,” as a mod­el when she teach­es, so says her web­site. And it is the mod­el for this bril­liant book of poet­ry: a story—or per­haps I should say sto­ries—told through poems of apol­o­gy and for­give­ness.

I’m embar­rassed to say that I did not real­ize this book told sto­ries until I read some of the poems aloud to a group of pre-school­ers. An astute 4-year-old point­ed out to me that one poem went with anoth­er, which is when I real­ized the poems were in pairs. (We’ll just focus on the bril­liance of the 4-year-old and not my slop­py read­ing.) Ever since, when I read this book, I read the apol­o­gy poem and then the “fol­low-up poem,” which is often a for­give­ness poem, but some­times just an explanation—and there­in lie the sto­ries. And these stories—my heart!—they run the gamut of the lives of chil­dren. From dodge ball games to mean things said…from things break­ing to break­ing hearts…from secrets kept to con­fes­sions made….from crush­es to hon­est-to-good­ness love…from fright­ened kids to despair­ing par­ents.

It’s the best of poet­ry, tru­ly. Acces­si­ble, mean­ing­ful, rich. I’ll just spend this April here, thank you very much.

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March Shorts

Oooo! Here in Min­neso­ta, shorts in March mean chills. These books will give you chills–in a good way!

Cat Goes Fiddle-I-FeeCat Goes Fid­dle-I-Fee
Adapt­ed and illus­trat­ed by Paul Gal­done
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 1985
(reis­sued in April 2017)

I rec­og­nized the title imme­di­ate­ly as I song I know well, sung as “I Had a Roost­er” by Pete Seeger on Birds, Beasts, Bugs & Lit­tle Fish­es in 1968. Turns out, I remem­ber the rhyme more than the words. Gal­done wrote a dif­fer­ent adap­ta­tion of this folk tale, one that is irre­sistible for read­ing out loud. In fact, even if you’re sit­ting alone in a room by your­self, you’re going to want to read this out loud. The words and the rhyme scheme are fun. Kids at sto­ry­time and kids in a class­room and kids sit­ting on your lap will want to sing along … and quite pos­si­bly dance. In this new edi­tion, Galdone’s illus­tra­tions are friend­ly. Find the snail. Who shares the page with the dog? There are many ani­mals to exam­ine and they don’t always make the expect­ed sounds: “Hen goes chim­my-chuck, chim­my-chuck.” As the tale builds cumu­la­tive­ly, it’s a good exer­cise in mem­o­ry and rep­e­ti­tion, and just plain fun. Turns out it’s a dif­fer­ent sto­ry than Seeger’s so both of them could be used. 

Hoot & Honk Just Can't SleepHoot & Honk Just Can’t Sleep
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Leslie Helakos­ki
Ster­ling Children’s Books, 2017

Two eggs, one from an owl’s nest and one from a goose’s nest, tum­ble to the ground dur­ing a wind storm. When the mamas take home the wrong eggs, the hatch­lings are con­fused. The owlet doesn’t like the food the oth­er goslings like and the gosling doesn’t want what the owlets are hun­gry for. And their sleep pat­terns are quite dif­fer­ent. A won­der­ful way to open up the dis­cus­sion about dif­fer­ent birds with young lis­ten­ers, this is a gor­geous book with a hap­py-go-lucky spir­it. Illus­trat­ed by Helakos­ki with pas­tels on sand­ed paper, the col­or is sump­tu­ous, the views have depth, and everyone’s going to want to touch the bird’s feath­ers. And who can resist the main char­ac­ters’ names? Hoot. Honk. Hoot and Honk. 

Charlotte the Scientist is SquishedChar­lotte the Sci­en­tist is Squished
writ­ten by Camille Andros
illus­trat­ed by Bri­anne Far­ley
Clar­i­on Books, 2017

I squealed after I read this book. This is exact­ly the book I would have read and re-read when I was a kid. The fly papers are dia­grams of the inside of a rock­et, labeled care­ful­ly so there’s much to pon­der. Char­lotte is a bun­ny rab­bit with a prob­lem. She is a seri­ous sci­en­tist with no room to con­duct her work. She has a large fam­i­ly, as some bun­nies do, and they’re always under­foot. So Char­lotte employs the Sci­en­tif­ic Method to solve her prob­lem. She cre­ates a hypoth­e­sis and tried her exper­i­ment and draws a con­clu­sion. And all of this is done with a great amount of humor sup­plied by the author and the illus­tra­tor, a seam­less sto­ry. That car­rot-shaped rock­et is delight­ful and so is the bun­ny in the fish­bowl. At the end of the book, there’s a fea­ture “In the lab with Char­lotte,” that uses Charlotte’s exper­i­ments for a dis­cus­sion of the sci­en­tif­ic method. High­ly rec­om­mend­ed.

Anywhere FarmAny­where Farm
writ­ten by Phyl­lis Root
illus­trat­ed by G. Bri­an Karas
Can­dlewick Press, 2017

Where can you farm? Any­where! Togeth­er, Root and Karas present con­vinc­ing argu­ments for grow­ing your own food wher­ev­er and how­ev­er you can. “For an any­where farm, here’s all that you need: soil and sun­shine, some water, a seed.“With soft vignettes that look close­ly at ways and means to plant seeds, “Kale in a pail, corn in a horn,” to cir­cu­lar depic­tions of neigh­bors tend­ing their small-scale farms, to two-page spreads that show an urban com­mu­ni­ty involved in gar­den­ing, the blend of poet­ry and illus­tra­tions make this book an appeal­ing invi­ta­tion to try your hand at farm­ing … any­where. Read­ers will have fun detect­ing all the places grow­ing plants can be sup­port­ed. As kids and adults of all ages and abil­i­ties work togeth­er, the lush end to this book is a sat­is­fy­ing one. Excuse me, won’t you? I’m off to ger­mi­nate my seeds!

Peg­gy
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Anna Walk­er
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 2017 paper­back

I pro­nounce this a Pic­ture-Book-of-the-Absurd, delight­ful­ly so. “Peg­gy lived in a small house on a qui­et street.” Her chick­en coop in the back­yard of a sub­ur­ban house has a tram­po­line out­side. “Every day, rain or shine, Peg­gy ate break­fast, played in her yard, and watched the pigeons.” In a series of nine “slides” (do you remem­ber slides?) on each page, we observe Peg­gy doing just these things … with joy and When Peg­gy is blown off her tram­po­line by a strong wind into the unfa­mil­iar envi­ron­ment of down­town, does she pan­ic? No. She takes the oppor­tu­ni­ty to explore. In vignettes, Peg­gy eats spaghet­ti, she rides an esca­la­tor, and she shops for bar­gains. The soft, mut­ed water­col­or palette of the book is punc­tu­at­ed by Peggy’s black feath­ers, mak­ing her easy to fol­low as she ulti­mate­ly decides she’d rather be at home. But how will she get there? Clues plant­ed ear­li­er in the sto­ry give her ideas and ulti­mate­ly she finds her way back to her chick­en coop with new-found friends. This is an ide­al book for shar­ing one-on-one, exam­in­ing the humor on every page as the intre­pid Peg­gy shares her sto­ry.

RoundRound
writ­ten by Joyce Sid­man
illus­trat­ed by Taee­un Yoo
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 2017

Do any of us spend enough time notic­ing the nat­ur­al world around us? Do we look at the shape of things? Do we won­der enough about why they are in the shapes they are? What about all of the round things in the world? The moon. water, lily pads, rocks … so many spe­cif­ic things to notice, observe, and appre­ci­ate. Joyce Sidman’s poem leads the lis­ten­er into this explo­ration: “I love to watch round things move. They are so good at it!” Yoo’s illus­tra­tions find things to show us that are not in the text … words and illus­tra­tions blend­ing togeth­er into a book that is more than its parts. Col­or­ful and charm­ing, the book’s design gets every­thing right. Even the author’s bios on the back jack­et flap are pre­sent­ed in round shapes! Two pages in back ask “Why are so many things in nature round?” Short para­graphs from the author will broad­en your vision, lead­ing to dis­cus­sions and notic­ing more each time you walk out­side.

If You Were the MoonIf You Were the Moon
writ­ten by Lau­ra Pur­die Salas
illus­trat­ed by Jaime Kim
Mill­brook Press, 2017

From the glossy cov­er to the moon’s expres­sive face to the brack­et­ed, you-didn’t-know-that facts, every­thing about this book is appeal­ing. Salas has a way of look­ing at some­thing as famil­iar as the moon while encour­ag­ing us to think about it in fresh ways, poet­i­cal­ly obser­vant, wak­ing-you-up ways. The moon as a bal­le­ri­na? Of course, and for very good rea­son. In brack­ets, the facts: “The moon spins on its invis­i­ble axis, mak­ing a full turn every twen­ty-sev­en days.” Kim illus­trates this spread with a con­tent­ed, bal­let-danc­ing moon that can’t help but make the read­er smile. “Weave a spell over won­der­ers.”? The brack­et inspires us with “Claire de Lune” and “The Moon is Dis­tant from the Sea.” The illus­tra­tion shows the Baule peo­ple of the Ivory Coast in fes­ti­val masks. All of this is set in the vibrant col­ors of a moon­lit night. It’s an inspir­ing book pre­sent­ed with the right bal­ance for kids who love a poet­ic pre­sen­ta­tion as well as fac­tu­al infor­ma­tion.

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Bookstorm: Scaly Spotted …

In this Bookstorm™:

Scaly Spotted Feathered FrilledScaly Spotted
Feathered Frilled:
how do we know what dinosaurs really looked like?

writ­ten by Cather­ine Thimmesh
HMH Books for Young Read­ers, 2013

No human being has ever seen a tricer­atops or veloci­rap­tor or even the mighty Tyran­nosaurus rex. They left behind only their impres­sive bones. So how can sci­en­tists know what col­or dinosaurs were? Or if their flesh was scaly or feath­ered? Could that fierce T. rex have been born with spots?

In a first for young read­ers, Thimmesh intro­duces the incred­i­ble tal­ents of the pale­oartist, whose work rean­i­mates gone-but-nev­er-for­got­ten dinosaurs in giant full-col­or paint­ings that are as strik­ing­ly beau­ti­ful as they aim to be sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly accu­rate, down to the small­est detail. Fol­low a pale­oartist through the sci­en­tif­ic process of ascer­tain­ing the appear­ance of var­i­ous dinosaurs from mil­lions of years ago to learn how sci­ence, art, and imag­i­na­tion com­bine to bring us face-to-face with the past.

In each Book­storm™, we offer a bib­li­og­ra­phy of books that have close ties to the the fea­tured book, Scaly Spot­ted Feath­ered Frilled. You’ll find books for a vari­ety of tastes, inter­ests, and read­ing abil­i­ties.

Dinosaur Digs. There are some very cool dinosaur digs through­out the Unit­ed States in which you and your chil­dren can take part.

Dinosaur Non­fic­tion. It’s dif­fi­cult to assign a reader’s age to these books. High inter­est lev­els can raise pro­fi­cien­cy and the graph­ics can be read even when the words can’t be. You may need to give these books a try to see if they’re with­in the skills of your read­er. Enjoy Gild­ed Dinosaur to read about two com­pet­ing pale­on­tol­o­gists who tried to out­wit each oth­er. Pre­his­toric Life from DK Pub­lish­ing looks at all ele­ments of the earth at the time of the dinosaurs. Dinosaurs: a Con­cise Nat­ur­al His­to­ry man­ages to be fun­ny and infor­ma­tive.

Draw­ing. From Audubon to Charles R. Knight on ani­mal anato­my to step-by-step instruc­tions for draw­ing dinosaurs, there are books here that will inspire artists-in-the-mak­ing to learn more about dinosaurs while they draw them as par­tic­u­lar­ly as the pale­oartists do.

Fic­tion. From pic­ture books to nov­els, from the youngest chil­dren to adults, dinosaurs are favorite sub­jects for writ­ers because they’re much loved by read­ers. You’ll enjoy books such as Dan­ny and the Dinosaur, Juras­sic Park, and Okay for Now.

Fos­sil Hunters. We rec­om­mend books that range from Mary Anning’s dis­cov­ery of the first com­plete ichthyosaurus fos­sil to Bob Barn­er exam­in­ing dinosaur bones to deter­mine what they ate to Ani­ta Silvey’s dar­ing plant hunters.

Graph­ic Nov­els. Dinosaurs are a favorite top­ic for car­toon­ists. Some of their graph­ic nov­els, such as Bar­ry Sonnenfeld’s Dinosaurs vs Aliens are epics.

Pale­oartists. In addi­tion to the work of the pale­oartists fea­tured in Scaly Spot­ted Feath­ered Frilled, you’ll read about Charles R. Knight, Water­house Hawkins, Julius Csotonyi, and oth­ers. These sci­en­tist-artists are larg­er than life!

Pale­on­tol­ogy. Ladies and gen­tle­men! Step right up! You’ll be amazed by the feats and dis­cov­er­ies of the pale­on­tol­o­gists in these books. Whether it’s Mr. Bones, Bar­num Brown, or The His­to­ry of Life in 100 Fos­sils or Jessie Hartland’s How the Dinosaur Got to the Muse­um or Joyce Sidman’s Ubiq­ui­tous: Cel­e­brat­ing Nature’s Sur­vivors, there are books here that will enthrall you.

Tech­niques for using each book:

Downloadables


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Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled Companion Booktalks

To get you start­ed on the Book­storm™ books …

cover imageAge of Rep­tiles and Age of Rep­tiles: the Hunt, Richard Del­ga­do, Dark Horse Books, 2011. Ages 12 and up.

  • Word­less sto­ry­telling through beau­ti­ful (some­times gory) art
  • What hap­pens when you steal the T-rex eggs? What hap­pens when an Allosaurus takes revenge on the Cer­atosaurs that killed his moth­er?
  • The author-artist has worked on movies such as Men in Black, The Incred­i­bles, WALL-E

cover imageCap­tain Rap­tor series, writ­ten by Kevin O’Malley, illus­trat­ed by Patrick O’Brien, Walk­er Books, 2005. Ages 5–8.

  • Dinosaurs are the char­ac­ters on the plan­et Juras­si­ca
  • Rock­et ships and action
  • Good guys, bad guys, scary stuff, and fun inven­tions

cover imageThe Dinosaurs of Water­house Hawkins, writ­ten by Bar­bara Ker­ley, illus­trat­ed by Bri­an Selznick, Scholas­tic Press, 2001.

  • Biog­ra­phy of  19th cen­tu­ry pale­oartist Water­house Hawkins who pop­u­lar­ized dinosaurs and once threw a din­ner par­ty inside one of his dinosaur sculp­tures
  • Just why are pieces of his dinosaur sculp­tures buried in New York’s Cen­tral Park?
  • Calde­cott Hon­or book

 cover imageDinosaurs: the Grand Tour, writ­ten by Keiron Pim and Jack Horner, The Exper­i­ment, 2014. Appro­pri­ate for chil­dren and adults.

  • Report mate­r­i­al on more than 300 dinosaurs and the sci­en­tists who have dis­cov­ered and stud­ied them
  • Help­ful orga­ni­za­tion (col­or-cod­ed by Geo­log­ic peri­od) with gray scale illus­tra­tions
  • Includes Chi­nese and Native Amer­i­can mythol­o­gy linked to dinosaurs

cover imageHow the Dinosaur Got to the Muse­um, Jessie Hart­land, Blue Apple Books, 2013. Ages 6 to 9

  • Pic­ture book about the team­work need­ed to bring a dinosaur skele­ton to a place where many peo­ple can see it and learn from it (the Smith­son­ian Muse­um)
  • Sol­id infor­ma­tion deliv­ered in bright art and live­ly lan­guage
  • A Book­list “Top Ten Sci-Tech Books for Youth” (2010)

cover imageHow to Draw Incred­i­ble Dinosaurs, writ­ten by Kris­ten McCur­ry, illus­trat­ed by Juan Calle, Smith­son­ian Draw­ing Books/Capstone Press, 2012. Ages 5 and up.

  • Step-by-step instruc­tions for ages 5 and up
  • Each draw­ing les­son comes with a brief “bio” of the dinosaur mod­el
  • One in a set of 4 draw­ing books (also: Incred­i­ble Ocean Ani­mals, Amaz­ing Ani­mals, Amaz­ing Space­craft)

cover imagePale­on­tol­ogy: the Study of Pre­his­toric Life, writ­ten by Susan H. Gray, Scholas­tic, 2012. ages 4 and up

  • A begin­ning intro­duc­tion to the sci­ence of pale­on­tol­ogy
  • Quick facts in col­or­ful large font, illus­trat­ed with many pho­tographs
  • Includes his­to­ry of pale­on­tol­ogy, how sci­en­tists date fos­sils, the tools they use

cover imagePlant Hunters: True sto­ries of their dar­ing adven­tures to the far cor­ners of the Earth, Ani­ta Sil­vey, Far­rar, Straus & Giroux, 2012. Ages 8 and up.

  • Sci­en­tists have had the cra­zi­est adven­tures
  • Beau­ti­ful­ly illus­trat­ed (many archival pho­tographs) and use­ful­ly organized—great report mate­r­i­al
  • Includes a chap­ter on con­tem­po­rary sci­en­tists

bk_BulletPrehistoricLifPre­his­toric Life by DK Pub­lish­ing, 2010. Ages 8 and up

  • Dinosaurs and more: the plants, inver­te­brates, amphib­ians, birds, rep­tiles, and mam­mals from the ori­gins of life in the sea to the evo­lu­tion of man
  • DK’s sig­na­ture explod­ed dia­grams, cut­aways, and high-inter­est visu­als
  • Cof­fee table-beau­ti­ful and with tons of report mate­r­i­al

cover imageStone Girl, Bone Girl: the Sto­ry of Mary Anning, writ­ten by Lau­rence Anholt, illus­trat­ed by Sheila Mox­ley, Frances Lin­coln, 2006. Ages 6–9

  • Mary Anning: Struck by light­en­ing as a baby, famous at age 12, a girl work­ing in a man’s world
  • Vivid­ly illus­trat­ed pic­ture book sto­ry about the most famous fos­sil hunter of all (and the inspi­ra­tion for the wicked tongue twister “She Sells Sea Shells”)
  • Puts an engag­ing, human face on the 19th cen­tu­ry icon by mix­ing biog­ra­phy with an ele­ment of tall tale

cover imageUbiq­ui­tous: Cel­e­brat­ing Nature’s Sur­vivors, writ­ten by Joyce Sid­man, illus­trat­ed by Beck­ie Prange, HMH Books for Young Read­ers, 2010. Ages 7–12.

  • Mam­mals and birds and rep­tiles that have sur­vived extinc­tion, excel­lent for con­trast in a dis­cus­sion about dinosaurs
  • Each spread includes a poem, facts, and a hand-col­ored linocut
  • From the cre­ators of the Calde­cott Hon­or Book Song of the Water Boat­man and Oth­er Pond Poems

 

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Peace

Peace is elu­sive. It is a goal of some peo­ple at some time in some parts of the world. As John Lennon wrote: “Imag­ine no pos­ses­sions / I won­der if you can / No need for greed or hunger / A broth­er­hood of man / Imag­ine all the peo­ple shar­ing all the world …” Is […]

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Bank Street’s 2010 Choices

We eager­ly await the annu­al list of books cho­sen by the Bank Street Col­lege of Edu­ca­tion as books that work well with chil­dren from birth to age 14. Each year, the Children’s Book Com­mit­tee reviews over 6000 titles each year for accu­ra­cy and lit­er­ary qual­i­ty and con­sid­ers their emo­tion­al impact on chil­dren. It choos­es the […]

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Monday Morning Round-Up

From Wen­dell Minor comes this news (applause, please),  “It′s offi­cial: the orig­i­nal art from Look to the Stars will be includ­ed in the per­ma­nent col­lec­tion of The New Britain Muse­um of Amer­i­can Art, and the orig­i­nal art from Abra­ham Lin­coln Comes Home will be includ­ed in the per­ma­nent col­lec­tion of The Nor­man Rock­well Muse­um. Watch […]

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Celebrating Earth Day

How did you cel­e­brate? How about your class­room? Your library? Your fam­i­ly? We went to Joyce Sid­man’s pub­li­ca­tion par­ty for Ubiq­ui­tous: Cel­e­brat­ing Nature’s Sur­vivors (Houghton Mif­flin), illus­trat­ed with linoleum block prints by Becky Prange, who lives in Ely, Min­neso­ta, and was trained as a sci­en­tif­ic illus­tra­tor. When Joyce explained how Becky cre­at­ed the amaz­ing time­line […]

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Award winners, award criteria

Big Bob and The Mag­ic Valentine’s Day Pota­to Red Read­ing Boots 1 Sev­er­al years ago, a mys­te­ri­ous pack­age arrived at our house on Valentine’s Day: a plain brown box addressed to our entire fam­i­ly with a return address “TMVDP.” The pack­age weighed almost noth­ing. It weighed almost noth­ing because the box con­tained four lunch­box serv­ing-size […]

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Monday morning roundup

Hey, Joyce Sid­man, your new book, Ubiq­ui­tous, has done the Most Unusu­al … five starred reviews! In 2009, only 13 books received five starred reviews (if you’re curi­ous, check out the See­ing Stars 2009 doc­u­ment, stored on Radar, the CLN mem­bers’ home page). Book­list, The Horn Book, Kirkus Reviews, Pub­lish­ers Week­ly, and School Library Jour­nal […]

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