HarperCollins, 1988. 978-0060218522.
Winner of the 1989 John Newbery Medal
Synopsis: Designed to be read aloud, Fleischman’s poems recreate the booming, boisterous noise of the insect world. Explore the songs of water striders, fireflies, cicadas, whirligig beetles, and many others.
Why I picked it up: I came across the title while I was researching Newbery winners and I thought it would be fun for National Poetry Month.
Why I finished it: Because poetry is designed to instill feeling and create images using only a few select words, it’s often difficult to create a stirring image that will remain with the reader long after they have read the poem. This book explores poetry by creating for the reader poems with the familiar rhyme scheme and breaks them up to create a bigger picture for the audience. It’s a melodious, discordant, and wonder-filled look into the world of insects that comes alive with Beddows’ illustrations. Read it with a friend or use it in the classroom to introduce kids to the joys of read-aloud poems.
Other related materials: I am Phoenix: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleishman, illustrated by Ken Nutt; Big Talk: Poems for Four Voices by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Beppe Giacobbe; insectlopedia by Douglas Florian; Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beckie Prange; Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen; Math Talk: Mathematical Ideas in Poems for Two Voices by Theoni Pappas; Messing Around on the Monkey Bars and Other School Poems for Two Voices by Betsy Franco, illustrated by Jessie Hartland; Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josee Masse; Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josee Masse; A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard, illustrated by Alice Provensen and Martin Provensen; A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems edited by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Chris Raschka; Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds; The Random House Book of Poetry for Children compiled by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Arnold Lobel