Friday, June 14, 2013

Poetry Friday -- Novels in Verse

There's lots to love about novels in verse.

Sometimes they introduce us to characters that we want to read about again and again.

Sometimes they offer support to readers who struggle with stamina and fluency by increasing the amount of white space on the page around the text, making the text more sparse while keeping it rich in language and imagery.

It's super-fun when the poetry written by the main character is a part of the poetry of the novel...and when the kid power that saves the day (and maybe even the farm) is poetry and art!

But bestbestBEST of all is when each poem in the novel is a poem that can stand by itself as well as being an integral part of the novel.

If you want a book that's worth its weight in gold, GONE FISHING is the book for you. 

This book would make a great read aloud. It's the classic story of excitement (going fishing with dad all by myself!), disappointment (why does SHE have to come along?), conflict (when will I catch a fish?), and resolution (I only caught one, but it was a doozy of a catfish!). 

The poems are told from the point of view of Sam, his sister Lucy, their dad, a couple of times all three, and once just Sam and Lucy. 

There are more than 30 different poetry forms represented throughout the book, identified below each title and elaborated upon in the endmatter of the book. (Also in the endmatter, a bit about some of the other tools in a poet's "tackle box:" rhyme and rhythm, and poetry techniques such as alliteration, hyperbole, assonance, and more.) 

And the illustrations are spot-on perfect.

Margaret has the Poetry Friday Roundup today at Reflections on the Teche. If you are interested in hosting a Poetry Friday Roundup in July-December, the place to sign up is here.

For more information about the books in this post:

Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie
Like Bug Juice on a Burger
by Julie Sternberg
illustrated by Matthew Cordell

Love That Dog
Hate That Cat: A Novel
by Sharon Creech

Little Dog, Lost
by Marion Dane Bauer
illustrated by Jennifer Bell

Eva of the Farm
by Dia Calhoun

Gone Fishing: A novel
by Tamera Will Wissinger
illustrated by Matthew Cordell


  1. I love Sharon Creech's books. :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  2. Hi Mary Lee,

    What an honor and a nice surprise to see Gone Fishing listed here! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Happy Poetry Friday!



    1. I received my copy of "Gone Fishing" right before the end of the school year so we looked at different poetry forms using the models. I would love to chat with you, Tamera, about the inspiration for your book. Love it!

  3. Once again ML you are adding to my TBR pile and you just saw how big it is. Happy Poetry Friday I am sure there will be a poem out there today just waiting for you.

  4. Oh, thanks for this wonderful post -- what great titles! Tamera's book has been on my TBR list for awhile and now I'm even more anxious to read it. :)

  5. Ditto what Jama said.
    I've enjoyed some of these already, look forward to some of the others, and now I want to delve into GONE FISHING even more. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Mary Lee,
    Thanks for sharing these "novels in verse" for younger readers. Jeff (my husband teaches 8th grade) and I have been talking about this type of writing at his level, and I'm excited to take a closer look at these titles for possibilities in my classroom.


  7. I love novels in verse for a range of ages. I am more familiar with YA novels in verse (except for Creech's), so I was excited to see some new titles in this post for younger grades.

  8. Thanks for all, Mary Lee. The Sharon Creech books are just a delight, but I will also look for the others, & especially Gone Fishing.

  9. I must agree with everything you wrote about GONE FISHING, Mary Lee! It is my new favorite novel in verse! The rest of the titles you mentioned I have on my "to read list", but have not as of yet. Moving them to the top now... =)

  10. I've really enjoyed several of the new verse novels. Such a fun format!

  11. I'm looking forward to reading Marion Dane Bauer's book. I met her at a workshop a few years ago. Quite a woman. She inspires you to be daring. Thanks for sharing the list.

  12. I keep forgetting about Gone Fishing and all the others sound great too. Thanks!

  13. Eva of the Farm = yay! I quoted both that and the forthcoming companion After the River the Sun at my blog for Poetry Friday earlier this year. :)

  14. Good point -- "Sometimes they offer support to readers who struggle with stamina and fluency by increasing the amount of white space on the page around the text, making the text more sparse while keeping it rich in language and imagery." Great to have different sorts of novels to offer students!

  15. Hi, Mary Lee. I'm excited to read a novel in verse that uses so many different forms. Plus, my father is an avid fly-fisher. Thanks for the recommendation.

  16. Anonymous11:37 AM

    I'm bookmarking this! Can't wait to read these! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Somehow I missed this post last week, but THANK YOU! I love novels in verse and am always looking for new recommendations. Really excited to get my hands on Gone Fishing!


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