Welcome to Poetropia, an arena for discussion about children's poetry, specially designed for my graduate Special Topics (LS 5903 Section 22) at Texas Woman's University. Please feel free to visit as often as you like and to give me your reactions to my reactions of the poems and poetry collections I'll share here throughout the Spring 2007 semester. Thank you for your visit. You can leave the door ajar for the next visitor as you leave. Happy reading!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Poetry Break Three: Unusual poem form ("Shape" or "Concrete" poem).

Poetry Break Three: Unusual poem form (Shape or Concrete Poem).

Graham, Joan Bransfield. Illus. by Steve Scott. (1994). “Popsicle.” In Splish Splash. New York: Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 0618111239.

Splish Splash is an incredible book full of shape poems about water in its many forms, from something thing so inventive as a sprinkler to ice cubes floating in a glass. The simple, colorful illustrations make the perfect background for these creative “concrete” poems.

Reviews of Splish Splash (per Amazon.com):

School Library Journal: Kindergarten-Grade 3-A colorful collection of poems about water and the particular ways children may come in contact with it- from ocean waves; to rain, hail, and dew; to steam and ice. Bold, graphic artwork expands upon the concrete form of the poetry….An enjoyable introduction to poetry that will also be a boon to teachers taking a whole-language approach to science units. A fun and useful purchase.

Kirkus: Graham uses simple phrases and images, displaying both a fine ear and a lively imagination, inviting readers to enjoy the sound of the words as well as their sense…Without sacrificing legibility, Scott seamlessly incorporates the text into the design…he sticks to a flat, graphic style with large areas of bright single colors, plenty of empty space, and sharp contrasts to give the illusion of depth. An outstanding collaboration between poet and visual artist. (Poetry. 7-10)

Awards for Splish Splash:
71 Top Books of the Century (Nonfiction) Instructor Magazine
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
NCTE Notable Trade Book in the Language Arts

And Now…


p op sicl e
p op sicl e
t i c k l e
tongue fun
lick sicle
stick sicle
p l e a s e
don’t run
drip sicle
slip sicle
melt, melt
t r i c k y
stop sicle
plop sicle
hand all

What a terrific and fun way to introduce young children to poetry.
While the poem doesn’t have any regular rhyme scheme, the repetition of “-icle” in the words shows freedom and invention and the echo of sticky, tricky and tickle all help to make the "ick" sound like a popsicle stick, holding the poem together. It shows that even a stream of silly, fun words is poetry, too!

Shape poems like this one and the other creative poems in Splish Splash are the perfect way to get children invested in their own poetry. A poem like this could introduce a discussion about things children like and they could be asked to write their own poems in the shapes of whatever they want!


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