A set of children’s poems that versifies about pets while teaching creative writing.
Vardell and Wong (The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations, 2015, etc.) use animals as centerpieces for this addition to the Poetry Friday Anthology educational series for young readers. There are 12 clusters of poems and activities, and each explores a different poetic concept, such as rhyming, acrostics, rebuses, or found poetry. A simple illustration or puzzle exercise at the start of each section introduces the idea at hand, and the three poems that follow use the concept to build upon one another. Together, they tell a brief story about pets while also exhibiting their lesson. A short prompt at the end of each section gives readers a chance to try writing similar poems themselves. The book is entirely playful in tone—most poems end in jokes—and it encourages students to find their own approach to writing even as the pet theme remains constant. The back of the book contains recommendations for more pet poems that readers can turn into new stories. There are also a handful of exercises that focus on reading comprehension and other nuts-and-bolts writing skills, such as punctuation or capitalization. These are separated out so that each cluster may also be used as a practical, stand-alone minilesson. The fact that the poems use varying rhyme schemes could potentially cause confusion for students writing their own poetry. For example, there’s the in-line rhyme of “Loose tooth, whose tooth? / Boar’s tooth, your tooth,” whose half-rhymes become more awkward to parse when read aloud. Still, the collection has enough nonrhyming exercises that such complexity doesn’t hold it back too much.
An enthusiastic invitation for kids to celebrate their animal friends through poetry composition.