Cindy: We believe that poetry should be celebrated every month (every day!) and not just during April, but here’s a perfect book for those April is Poetry Month celebrations. Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse (Houghton 2013) is a story in 40+ poems using 30+ different poetic forms. Haikus and Limericks and Free Verse are just the beginning. How about a Menu Poem or a Blues Poem or a Rondelet? Can’t discern between a Tercet and a Triolet? No worries, Wissinger has provided a “Poet’s Tacklebox” at the book’s end with definitions and instructions for a multitude of techniques and forms–perfect for the teacher or budding young poet looking to expand her poetry forms.
Sam and his dad begin the story with a “Tercet Variation” called “Night Crawlers” and the hunt…er, fishing trip…is ON.
Dad and I hunt worms tonight.
Tiptoe near and grab them quick.
Tug-o-war with earth and worm.
Set our bucket near the door.
Look out, fish–we’re on our way!
But by page 30 Sam is singing the “Can’t Go Fishing Yet Blues.” His father has invited his little SISTER to go with them! Horrors! The story is full of lots of fishing details and sibling rivalry…this is a family that you know. I spent a lot of time fishing with my dad and my brother in our little row boat. Good times. I’m sure my brother was always happy to have me a long…wasn’t he?
Lynn: We were sent this wonderful book back in the fall and with one quick read I knew this was a book that would be a gold mine for teachers. In a wonderful coincidence, the focus group was in the midst of a poetry unit at school so I took it with me when I next stopped in at school and showed it to their teachers. They snatched the book out of my hands faster than the speed of light and that was the last I’ve seen of it. Every time I’ve tried to get it back, these two wonderful teachers seem to become strangely vague. “Hmmm, well, yes, of course, we’ll get it back to you soon.” Need I say more? This is a book that belongs in EVERY classroom studying poetry. Fortunately the publisher sent another galley so we could write about this terrific fun book.
Each two-page spread features a poem in a different form. There is plenty of reassuring white space and Matthew Cordell’s wonderful cartoon sketch illustrations add more fun to the narrative. The overall appearance is appealing, inviting readers in to explore and play with poetic forms. I LOVE the pages that explain the various “Poetry Techniques” and there is also a terrific bibliography with other sources that beg to be explored. And – this is a fun story too!
And to the Waukazoo teachers – the book is yours.
Cindy: Yes, I love Cordell’s illustrations…they support the story and poems well. And as for my copy, I’m giving it to 6th grade science teacher Mr. Olson, who runs a freshwater fishing club for his students. It will be his prize for being the first follower of my new middle school library twitter account @WOPSmslibs.