Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)
If you’ve known me for a while, you probably know I struggle with plants. I love them, but kill them. Though I’m pleased to report that an ivy cutting I brought home in a paper towel/plastic baggie from my mom-in-law in Georgia in December is actually now a small plant!
You also might have heard me mention that I adore short poems, and I tend not to go too much for silly poems and long stories in verse. Allan Wolf is a master of funny poems and longer funny stories in verse. He’s so great at them, but they’re often just not my cup of tea. [Edited to add: His verse novels like The Watch that Ends the Night totally rock my world!]
All of this is to say that when I received Behold Our Magical Garden (Candlewick), by Allan Wolf and Daniel Duncan, I expected to be able to recommend it enthusiastically to teachers and librarians, because I knew it would be well written and beautifully made. But I didn’t expect to personally really get into so many of the poems!
Here’s the thing. This is such a playful collection, in the sense that the forms are wide-ranging, and so are the tones of the poems. I love that. We have poems in the style of, poems for two voices, interview poems, narrative poems, riddle poems…And the variety of topics is equally impressive. Not just plants, but volunteers, seeds, garden birds, garden journaling, composting, the sun, garden tools, and more. Don’t get me wrong–there’s silly, too. I mean, when you see a thunderstorm wearing underpants in an illustration, you know you’re in for a laugh! But I feel like everyone can find poems to love in here, because there’s so much variety.
Here are quick pics of two of my favorites, which I just realized don’t showcase Duncan’s lively, colorful art, which you can see on the cover.
For more excellent poetry, check out the Poetry Friday Roundup over at anthologist and educator extraordinaire Sylvia Vardell’s Poetry for Children, where she and Janet Wong are sharing their new anthology, Things We Eat!