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How fun! A Book Spine Poetry Contest…

Are you inspired by book titles? If so, then there is a quick and super fun contest for you…

You will need to:

1. Create a poem using the spine titles from any books (here is my first entry)

price of fish poem










2. Take a digital picture of your poem

3. Create a free account on Library Thing

4.  Upload the photo to your Library Thing  member gallery. Sign in, then go here and click the “Add another picture” link to add the image.*

5. When adding the image, tag it “SpinePoetry2012″. This will add your image to the contest gallery, and counts as your entry into the contest. If your photo doesn’t have the tag, we won’t know that you’ve entered. You’ll be able to see all the entries here.

6. Tell Library Thing about it in the “Title/description” box. You can include a list of the books you used, a transcription of the poem if you want, any explanation, &c.

7.  Have fun…

Deadline: Add your photos by 4 p.m. EDT on Friday, September 7.

For more information and prize details: Book Spine Poetry Contest

Here is another example by Michael

poem michael

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Crabacus and Penguinchworms and Asparagoose…oh my!

Yes, I know last month was National Poetry Month but we got a new book of Jack Prelutsky’s poetry this month.  And I love, love, love Jack Prelutsky’s poetry!  I think of him as being from the Ogden Nash school of poetry…if there is such a thing.  As with Nash (and let us not forget Uncle Shelby…Shel Silverstein) there are made-up people, animals and things.  I’ve Lost My Hippopotomus is packed with poems about plants, interesting family members and animals…some real, some imagined.  There’s the crabacus…part crab, part abacus, who counts the grains of sand on the beach until the tide comes in then he starts over.  And there are appleopards (ap-ill-EH-purdz)…spotted apples that bite back.  But my favorite is:

My Snake Can Do Arithmetic

My snake can do arithmetic,

My snake is far from dumb.

My snake can take two numbers

And come up with a sum.

She can’t subtract, which makes her sad,

And two things make her sadder…

She can’t divide or multiply—

My snake is just an adder.

You might try reading some poetry to the kids at bedtime.   When they ask for five books you could offer instead to read them seven poems.  Win/win.  They get more than the five they asked for and you get a few extra minutes after you tuck them in to maybe…finish the book that you’re reading.

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Slainte! Ireland and the Irish!

Saturday, March 17th, is St. Patrick’s Day, the day America celebrates all things Irish!

The library can help you celebrate. We have books about the culture, for example Ireland : the culture, or the literature like The Penguin book of Irish fiction. Traveling to Ireland can both be descriptive, as in this, Ireland, and fun like in this one, Round Ireland with a fridge.

The food of Ireland can be quite an experience, from Malachi McCormick’s Irish country cooking to inspiration from libations, The Irish spirit : recipes inspired by the legendary drinks of Ireland. Sometimes the recipes include a mystery, like here A catered St. Patrick’s Day : a mystery with recipes!

And what would a discussion of Ireland be without the music? Here you can see and hear The Chieftains [videorecording] an Irish evening : live at the Grand Opera House, or songs for children, So early in the morning [sound recording] : Irish children’s songs, rhymes & games.  Or more contemporary Irish sounds like Going out in style [sound recording], punk rock with an Irish flair! There are even movies about the music, as here:

The boys & girl from county Clare [videorecording]

This heartwarming comedy centers on two brothers, John Joe and Jimmy, who haven’t seen each other in twenty years. Having parted on bad terms, they meet at the All Ireland traditional music finals as leaders of rival Irish dance bands.


Or the dance! From books about the forms, The complete guide to Irish dance, the music for dancing, Come dance with me in Ireland [sound recording] : classic Irish dance music, to the personalities, Lord of the dance : my story / Michael Flatley,  that have made Irish dance so popular.

So let the library help you prepare for that day when everyone is Irish! And have a happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Shel-a-bration on February 23 at 4:00


First he was born,

And then he was warned,

                       And then he was taught how to swim,

                                                      And then he was married,

                                                   And then he was buried,

                                                                       And that’s all that happened to him.

When we someone comes to the library to find a poem to memorize, the librarians often steer that child to Shel Silverstein.  His poetry books often include his own illustrations and are delightful and funny.  Check out   Where the Sidewalk Ends,   Light in the Attic  or his latest volume Every Thing On It (which includes the Biography poem above)   for laugh aloud poetry.  Silverstein  is also the author of The Giving Tree, a tender classic about giving and love .  Now kids of all ages will have the chance to see Bob Kann, a wonderful entertainer,  perform his Shel-a-Bration, a tribute to this great children’s author.

Join us on Thursday,  February 23 at 4:00.

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Word play!

“Chickens aren’t the only ones/there’s no more to discuss-/everyone who lays an egg/is OVIPAROUS!”  And of course we all know what “oviparous” means: an animal that procreates by laying eggs (we mammals don’t, except a few in Australia – but that’s another story…).

I remember this because I read  Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones about 600 times back in the day.Chickens Aren't the Only Ones  So I can still tell you that “Most snakes lay eggs/and lizards, too/and crocodiles, and turtles do.”  To say nothing of octopus (octopi?), butterflies, sharks, spiders, and on and on and on.

Ruth Heller, the wonderful author of Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones, wrote a few dozen books about animals, animal camouflage, plants, seeds, the Sargasso Sea, experimentation with color, parts of speech and the Galápagos Islands.  “Galápagos” Means “Tortoises”, by the way – and here’s where the islands are, with some of their fascinating denizens:

An artist herself, Heller loved color – she even told my children what kind of pencils she used, to get the richest, truest colors in her drawings.  In her book Color, Color, Color, Color, she explained artistic media, how inks are printed in books, primary and secondary colors, tints, shades, cool colors and warm ones.

The animal camouflage books that she wrote have always been favorites; preschoolers love to find the hidden animals in books such as How to Hide a Crocodile  and How to Hide a Butterfly & Other Insects.  I imagine it helps that the drawings of the animals are so lovely: 


It’s not just animals, though.  She wrote another series about parts of speech, starting with collective nouns, which are some of the most entertaining in the language.  A rafter of turkeys, a leap of leopards, a sleuth of bears, a cache of jewels, that looks like this: There are several other  parts-of-speech books, like Up, Up and Away: A Book About Adverbs and Many Luscious Lollipops:  A Book About Adjectives.

Parents may not be consciously aware that their children who can’t read yet are perfectly able to learn words like “oviparous” and “gymnosperm” and “complementary” and “achromatic,” especially when these “difficult” words show up in verse – as is the case with ALL of Ruth Heller’s books.  But what could be more fun?  Beautiful drawings, accurate science and grammar, rhyme and advanced vocabulary…  let’s sit down together and enjoy some colorful words!


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