From Page to Poem: Booktalks in Verse

April 24th, 2011 by

You’ve probably  heard your teacher or librarian use the term “booktalk” — meaning a book preview kind of speech to get you interested in reading something new. But have you ever come across booktalk poetry? Well, prepare to behold its brilliance!

Fine, I’m just saying that because I wrote these myself. So be forewarned! But it’s National Poetry Month and our Kidsmomo theme is Poetry and Verse — so I couldn’t resist!

First, a limerick for a hilarious book series:

Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker

There once was a girl with a fruit name.
Nobody else was quite the same.
She’s totally funny.
I’d even bet money,
You’ll agree that her books all deserve fame!
 

And next, two haiku (hey! that rhymes!):

Holes by Louis Sachar

I’m at Camp Green Lake.
It’s not green; there is no lake.
Darn my grandpa’s curse!
 

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

The hippo is dead.
Was he killed? If so, by whom?
Must investigate!
 

And finally, my masterpiece — a poem for one of my new favorite books:

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

Meet the Ps —
Michael, Emma, and Kate.
Evil was hunting them,
But arrived too late.

They’d already been taken
Away from mom and dad;
They lived as orphans
To be protected from bad.

Then one fateful day,
They discover a book.
It’s not as innocent
As it may look!

Before they know it,
They’re in the past,
And there they meet
A peculiar cast:

An evil Countess
And her scary Screechers,
A wizard, dwarves,
And other creatures…

It’s up to the kids
To save the day.
Can they do it?
I will not say!

You’ll have to read
The book yourself;
It deserves a home
On your bookshelf.

Also, check out this Ode to the Mysterious Benedict Society that I wrote a while back.

So, I hope these poetic booktalks have entertained — but more importantly, I hope they’ve inspired! If the spirit moves you, please try your hand at booktalk poetry and share your verse in the comments. I’d love to see what you come up with!

— Karen

Back in the day, Karen used to write lots of poetry. Once, she was inspired to wrote a poem immediately upon arriving in Italy on vacation with her parents. It was all about the horribly hot weather.

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Thumbs Up for “Belly Up”

February 24th, 2011 by

belly-up-stuart-gibbs-book-reviewLast week, I announced the big winner of the Cybils Award for middle grade fiction. But there were LOTS of great books in the running, and another finalist that I really enjoyed was Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.

You know, over the years I never said to myself, “Gee, I could really go for a murder mystery set at a zoo. Oh, and the victim should be a grumpy hippo!” But now that I’ve ready Belly Up, I realize it’s been a hole in my life that I didn’t even know existed!

The hippo in question is Henry, the mascot of FunJungle, a spectacular new zoo where Teddy and his parents live (his parents work for the zoo). When Henry turns up dead, Teddy suspects foul play — and his investigations bring him into contact with the zoo’s short-tempered head vet, the zoo owner’s celebutante daughter, and quite a bit of danger.

You also get an insider’s access to the operations of a gigantic zoo/theme park, which I loved. Teddy pretty much gets free rein of the park (and sometimes sneaks into spots if he doesn’t), so following his adventures was like getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the place — but with a possible hippo killer on the loose!

Added bonus: If you’ve been suffering through an especially windy and snowy winter like most of the country, then this book makes for a great getaway to sunny Texas!

— Karen

Karen spent a summer in San Diego when she was eight, and she went to their famous zoo quite a lot. Her favorite memory? Eating ice cream in a waffle cone for the first time!

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