Friday, August 13, 2010

Poetry Friday -- In The Wild

In The Wild
by David Elliott
illustrated by Holly Meade
Candlewick Press, August 24, 2010
review copy provided by the publisher

I don't usually review books for Poetry Friday, but if you loved this team's first book of poetry for younger children, On the Farm, (my review is here) you're going to want to see/get their new one!

Holly Meade's woodblock illustrations pop off the page and pull the reader in, and David Elliott's poems make you look again and think and sometimes laugh out loud. The wild animals featured span the globe and a variety of ecosystems. You start with your typical lion, elephant, giraffe, zebra, rhino, but then you get sloth, jaguar, panda, tiger, orangutan, kangaroo, buffalo, wolf, and finally, polar bear.

Every one of Elliott's poems captures the essence of the animal in description (giraffe is "Stilt-walker/Tree-topper/Long-necked/Show-stopper), or in comparison ("...Who would have guessed/the Elephant/is so much like a cloud?"). His poems are short and accessible and perfect for reading aloud.

Here are my two favorites, the first because it is also a letter (...and how about that rhyme of forest and before us? Kay Ryan would like that...), and the second because of the nod to William Blake:

Dear Orangutan,

Three cheers to you, man of the forest.
You arrived here long before us.
You paved the way; you saw it through.
How nice to have someone like you
sitting in our family tree.

Sincerely, from your cousin,

We can never touch them,
so we love them from afar;
they are wild and distant ---
the Tiger and the star.

We can never know them;
they are not what we are;
fire, fire, burning bright ---
the tiger and the star.

7-Imp talks to illustrator Holly Meade here.
On the Farm reviewed at Becky's Young Readers, Anastasia's Picture Book of the Day, and Elaine's Wild Rose Reader.

The Poetry Friday round up is at the Stenhouse blog today. They have a new Georgia Heard poem to share with us, so scoot over and check it out!


  1. This sounds like such a fun book!

  2. Mary Lee,
    You and Franki have introduced me to so many new books (and have helped my independent bookstore tremendously). Thank you for yet another! I do so like the one about the tiger and the star and now want my patties on the whole book.
    Happy PF!

  3. Dear Blogger,
    Thank you for addressing the issue of spam comments by putting filters in place. I have hated comment moderation, but it was the only way we could keep the junk out. I am going to attempt to turn it off today so that we can have a real conversation here again. I've missed that.
    Mary Lee

    PS -- Amy, this is one you'll really want to own. On The Farm, too.

  4. Cha-Ching... another one to the list!

  5. Love that orangutan poem -- so much respect for animals in such a short space.

  6. I love the letter to the orangutan! So thoughtful. I'm glad you broke with tradition and shared this today. Another purchase to make at CTC. :)

  7. I was a little worried about copyright when I shared a couple whole poems (nowhere to link to), but I KNEW I'd be selling at least a few copies of the book (let's see, so far Amy, Patrick, and Karen), so hopefully that's fair use.

    I LOVE the orangutan "sitting in our family tree." That's what he's doing in the illustration. Looking at us with those familiar eyes!

  8. Anonymous9:29 AM

    What a totally fun book. I love the word play.

  9. I loved On The Farm!! This looks great.

  10. Thanks for sharing this book. I think it would provide great models for inspiring students to write their own animal poems. I'm gonna have to buy it, for sure!

  11. I love children's books! Thanks for all your hard work and please keep sharing your unique finds!

  12. Mary Lee,
    We do have Macs and we've done lots of podcasts. We've used wikis and blogs and even done some digital storytelling/videomaking. Most of our stuff we've published for the world to see/hear on the web, but if you wanted to avoid that and keep it private, I'm sure there's a way. One thing we did last year was an "online book club" with some books I read aloud. It kind of fizzled because my collaborators lost interest, but you're welcome to check it out at . I teach 4th grade too, so I'd love to get together on a short or long term project involving poetry or literacy or anything! Let me know: bcurran812 at gmail dot com. THANKS.

  13. I LOVED On the Farm, and am so glad you featured In the Wild today! Both poems are wonderful. I really like the "family tree" reference. :)

  14. This looks great! I'm happy you let us know about these fun and respectful homages to animals.

  15. Thanks so much for the heads-up on this new book. ON THE FARM was one of my favorites last year!


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