My love of writing poems goes clear back to my childhood. And one of my favorite times to write poems was when I vacationed with my family. While my friends flew toward their summer destinations to relax at the beach or pool, my family traveled by car. I’m recalling the 70’s when air conditioning was optional and my parents never saw the need to spend money for something they could get for free by cranking down a window. Mom mapped out our itinerary, noting the places and attractions she and Dad wanted to see like caves, canyons, rivers, waterfalls, and statues. We’d load up our jeep, lay a scratchy wool blanket down to keep our legs from sticking to the vinyl seats, and head across the country for two weeks.
Mom encouraged me to journal about the sites on our vacations. Often, I wrote about our travels in rhyme. Every little thing along the way that caught my attention became immortalized in a poem: a rosy sunset, prairie dogs popping up in a field, a bird nesting in a cactus, tumbleweed moseying along the road… This is why I was drawn to the picture book, THINGS TO DO. Elaine Magliaro chose a variety of simple topics for her poetry and, like the Orb Spider in her book, she wove a series of startling, surprising, and lovely poems for children to help them see the world in a fresh light.
Title – Things To Do
Written by – Elaine Magliaro
and illustrated by – Catia Chien
Published by – Chronicle Books – 2016
Suitable for ages – 3-8
Theme – Poetry on a broad range of subjects.
Opening – Things to do if you are DAWN. Shoo away night. Wash the eastern sky with light. Wake the sleeping sun: Rise and shine!
Amazon Review – View it HERE. With playful prose and vivid art, Things to Do brings to life the small moments and secret joys of a child’s day. There are wonders everywhere. In the sky and on the ground—blooming in a flower bed, dangling from a silken thread, buzzing through the summer air—waiting …waiting to be found. In this thoughtful and ingenious collection of poems, Elaine Magliaro, an elementary school teacher for more than three decades and a school librarian for three years, and illustrator Catia Chien provide a luminous glimpse of the ordinary wonders all around us.
Why do I like this book? The poems are light, inventive, and fresh. I found myself smiling at the gentle humor and thoughtful word choices. Catia Chien’s illustrations reminded me of the simple illustrations in the picture books I loved as a child. Bursting with color and simplicity, her style will greatly appeal to children.
Learn more about Elaine Magliaro HERE.
Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.
An exercise in writing poetry with children: Bring paper and pencils along on a walk and make a list of five or more things you see when you look up and five or more things you see when you look down.
Close your eyes and make a list of what you hear.
make a list of what you smell.
From your lists, select the one thing that interests you most.
write down words to describe it. (Color, texture, sound, movement…)
To find more descriptive words, imagine you are describing the item to someone who has never seen it before. What does it remind you of? What does it look similar to? What does it sound similar to? Can you compare its size to something else?
Using your new list of words, play at writing a poem.