Friday, September 30, 2011

Poetry Friday: At the Sea Floor Cafe

Odd Ocean Critter Poems by Leslie Bulion, illustrated by Leslie Evans. Peachtree Publishers, 2011. Last June I received this lovely little collection in the mail from my friend Elaine Magliaro. (Elaine's review & author interview here.) We have been dipping into it and enjoying the wide variety of poetic forms that playfully and cleverly present fascinating portraits of ocean creatures. From snapping shrimp to dolphins to the Osedax legless worm that lives on whale bones at the bottom of the sea, each creature is celebrated in poetry and further described in short paragraphs that highlight each one's special features and adaptations. Bulion has a bacground in oceanography as well as poetry so she brings a unique skill set to the making of this fabulous collection. The back of the book includes a glossary of ocean creature terminology, further websites and books on oceanology to explore, as well as very helpful Poetry Notes describing and explaining the poetic forms and features used in the collection.

Leslie Evans, the illustrator, has training and experience as a printmaker. The colorful block prints she has created for this collection are dramatic and whimsical. See some of the prints here at her webpage. I adore the bright oranges and yellows contrasted with the blues and greens that make this ocean a magical place to explore.

One of my favorite poems here is a cinquain, a five line poem with specific syllable counts:

Crabby Camouflage

hermit defends
each secondhand shell home
with anemone jewelry.

"A jeweled anemone crab is a hermit crab that protects is soft body by moving into an empty snail shell. The crab camouflages its borrowed home by sticking colorful, living sea anemones on teh outside of the shell. anemones disguis the shell, and can also sting (and stun) predators that come too close to the crab. Ouch!"

Here is a video including a song for the Broody Squid:

For elementary grades studying ocean creatures and poetry this book is perfect! It brings together the music and form of poetic celebrations with the scientific and awe-inspiring study of the ocean. I would love to see this book used in classrooms and libraries everywhere.

Poetry Friday is being rounded up at Read, Write, Believe, where Sara shares some thoughts on her summer of less blogging. I can really relate to that! Stop by and enjoy all the rest of the poetry linked in her round up!

Also please note that tomorrow is OCTOBER 1 and that means CYBLS nominations are open!!! Get your lists of favorite children's books published during 2011 together and go nominate a few winners!!! I am delighted to be serving as a second round judge in the Poetry division, and I am so looking forward to seeing what all of ya'll are going to nominate.


Sara said...

The whole ocean is a poem, so this is perfect.

Thanks, Andi---you review with a true eye for good things.

GatheringBooks said...

Congratulations on your being a Judge for the Cybils! That's bound to be loads of fun.

And I so love the idea of a seafloor cafe - I can feel the waves as I sip my latte. :) Thank you for sharing.

Joyce Ray said...

I'd heard of this book but not seen it yet. What a treasure! It's a wonderful resource for interdisciplinary writing. The book trailer is a gem. Think how much fun kids would have making a video of their interdisciplinary poetry! Thank you, Andi, for reviewing At the Sea Floor Cafe.

laurasalas said...

This is such a delightful book!

And yay, we'll be poetry judges together!

Now I have to figure out my CYBILS nominations...