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TOASTING MARSHMALLOWS by Kristine O'Connell George


Camping Poems

by Kristine O'Connell George & illustrated by Kate Kiesler

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: March 19th, 2001
ISBN: 0-618-04597-X
Publisher: Clarion

George deftly describes the satisfying sequence of familiar events in a summer camping experience in this collection of 30 related poems perfectly paired once again with Kiesler's inviting oil paintings (The Great Frog Race and Other Poems, 1998, etc.). The daily rhythms of a camping trip are presented from the “Tent” to exploring an “Abandoned Cabin” to observing “A Doe.” Shared common experiences include “Sleeping Bag”: "It's so cold outside, I'm getting dressed inside / my sleeping bag. I wriggle, scoootch, scrunch, and jiggle. Flop. / Front flips, back flips—I'm a caterpillar / in a cozy cloth cocoon / that zips." Short pieces like “Mosquito Song” demonstrate pointed wordplay with a witty use of alliteration and onomatopoeia: "Its Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! / Mosqueeeeeeeeeeeeeeto! / Is that you, Dinner? / Greeeeeeeeeetings." Kiesler expresses the changing vistas of the countryside from the uneasy, dark palette of the double-page spread for “Storm” to the bright, sunshiny view of a field for “Wild Mustard.” The changing layout of each page gives a sense of surprise to the most ordinary of events, the words of the concrete poem, “Eavesdropping,” "Tipping / a slender / silver ear" placed in the shape of crescent moon, the stanzas of “Flashlight” positioned in the beams of light, to name just a few. Altogether, an engaging trip. (Poetry. 7-10)