Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Poem a Day from Random House Children's Books

For National Poetry Month, Random House Children's Books is send subscribers a poem a day via their email newsletter. Each weekly newsletter includes 5 poems for the week. The poem for Tuesday is from Schoolyard Rhymes written by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Melissa Sweet:


Down, down, baby, down by the rollercoaster.
Sweet, sweet baby, I’ll never let you go.
Shimmy shimmy coca pop.
Shimmy, shimmy pow!
Shimmy shimmy coca pop.
Shimmy, shimmy pow!
Grandma, Grandma, sick in bed,
Called for the doctor and the doctor said,
“Let’s get the rhythm of the head, ding-dong!
Let’s get the rhythm of the head , ding-dong!
Let’s get the rhythm of the hands, clap, clap!
Let’s get the rhythm of the hands, clap, clap!
Let’s get the rhythm of the feet, stomp, stomp!
Let’s get the rhythm of the feet, stomp, stomp!”
Put it all together and what do you get?
Ding-dong, clap, clap, stomp, stomp.

-- Judy Sierra

A previous newsletter included a letter and activity from Judy Sierra with a theme from her soon to be released poetry book: Beastly Rhymes to Read After Dark. Enjoy!

Dear Teachers and Librarians,

I write poems that have rhythm and rhyme. I find that rhythm and rhyme are the best tools for creating funny poems, and funny poems are my specialty. Using rhythm and rhyme lets me work on a poem in my head while I’m doing other things like driving or cooking. Most of all, I use rhythm and rhyme to show kids that words and reading and writing are fun. With a little effort, anyone can write a good poem that others will enjoy.

I learned to write poetry by listening to poetry and reciting poetry. My parents read poems to me from the time I was a baby. When I was seven, my father began paying me a dollar for every poem I learned by heart. I thought I was going to become a millionaire! Eventually, he had to stop because I was spending all my free time memorizing poems, and he was running out of money. My favorites then were the poems in Alice in Wonderland, and in T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

Monster Reservoir, the last poem in my upcoming book Beastly Rhymes to Read After Dark , is an invitation to compose a poem. Kick off Poetry Month with children using the monster poem activity below . . .

The nice thing about writing a monster poem is that you can make up monster names to rhyme with real words. As a warm up, try writing a four-line poem about a nice monster who is misunderstood. (Hint: write the second line first).

Hello, my name is _____________.
When people see me, they__________.
They think I must be ___________,
But I am really ________________.

Try to make the first two lines rhyme, and the last two lines rhyme. As an extra challenge, give each line the same number of beats. Draw a picture to go with your poem. Have fun, and don’t
forget to revise!

Happy Poetry Month!
Judy Sierra

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