Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)
I have a big fear of alligators. I grew up in Florida and have seen them up close (too close) and personal several times. Shudder. But I’m also fascinated by them. I’ve written a Putrid Poem about them and a predator poem about saltwater crocs (maybe I’ll share that one next week if I remember), and I’ve shared part of Mary Oliver’s “Alligator Poem.”
So, I was pleasantly horrified to see a new poetry collection all about alligators from Jane Yolen! I was suitably creeped out by Alligator’s Smile (Millbrook, 2016) (buy from your indie bookseller here) and am sharing one of my favorites here.
The alligator underwater
In the swamp or bog
Quite often seems a harmless rock
Or piece of floating log.
She hides her back, her legs, her tail.
But do not be mistaken.
For if you think she’s just a log,
You surely will be taken.
Her eager eyes spy out the meal
That swims on unaware,
Then grabs and rolls it in the swamp–
The perfect gator snare.
–Jane Yolen, all rights reserved
(Please ignore the wonky spacing. I have tried without success to make it look right, as it does in print.)
In case you’re wondering why all the books I’ve shared lately have been from Lerner and/or Millbrook specifically, I’m not trying to play favorites (even though I love them!). When I was at the Minnesota Children’s Book Festival a few weeks ago, Lerner had a stack of catalogs out, and I picked one up. After paging through and highlighting about a million books that looked good, I started putting some on reserve. So I just happen to be reading tons of Lerner titles lately:>)
And for more poetry fun, don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundup. Tricia, Poetry Princess and wonderful educator at The Miss Rumphius Effect, is hosting! Give her weekly Monday poetry challenges a try:>)
Michelle Heidenrich Barnes says
There are quite a few poems in here that I really like! One is the haiku at the beginning that sets the tone (“not a log”), and also those young gators who must “learn to read… the reeds.”
Yes–those are favorite bits of mine, too!
Clearly I’ll have to read the entire book. Thanks for sharing!
Hope you enjoy it!
Jane the Raincity Librarian says
YIKES I’ve never actually seen a crocodile, though I have been to Florida twice. I have seen them on TV though, and that’s certainly close enough for me! 😉
Crocodilians of all kinds are…primitive and calculating and scary! For me, anyway. And yet, I’m drawn to them in books and on tv. Go figure.
Tara Smith says
This sounds like a wonderful collection, Laura – great for writing workshop mini lessons, too.
Buffy Silverman says
This is so much fun–am putting the book on my to-read list! Thanks for featuring it.
Violet Nesdoly says
The book looks interesting and, if the other poems are anything like the one you shared, clever. Alligators are well out of my experience–and I hope they stay that way!
Brenda Davis Harsham says
This does sound like a great collection. I should SNAP it up. 🙂
Alligators are among toothy creatures that cross my paths, too, having lived in North Florida for ages. When the event with the armored one is not too near me, I still hear how close a call someone has had with disaster. (Or not a close call – sadly, I know someone in Florida who was drowned by a ‘gator.) With Jane Yolen’s pen, this collection is bound to be an addictive read. I am pleased you featured it. And glad your alligator experiences left you intact!
Oh, Jan, I’m so sorry to hear that. Gators are truly fierce, powerful beasts. Jane captures several things about them that fascinate me, but I’m glad to think about them only from a distance.