Saturday, November 17, 2012


There are some authors that kids are always just plain glad to see. And Jack Prelutsky is definitely  one of those authors. The newest (or at least I think it's newest) book from this very prolific poet, is classic Prelutsky. There is a lot of silliness…
I swallowed a third of the turkey,
A tenth of the carrots and peas,
A quarter of half the potatoes
A fifth of a ninth of the cheese,
A sixth of an eighth of the pudding
A seventh of all of the cake,
And so I am now doubled over,
With triple a whole bellyache. 
 There is a lot of word play…
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. 
Prelutsky employs a variety of formats- everything from free verse to haiku to limericks, to concrete poetry. And, as always, he's a master at tools like repetition and alliteration. I taught both of those in intermediate grades this week, and am wishing now that I had started each day with humorous poem, then gone on to more serious examples.

I was also struck, in reading I'VE LOST MY HIPPOPOTAMUS,  by Prelutsky's use of  rich and interesting vocabulary-- talk about text complexity! Here's a sample from a random two-page spread--fortunate, discern, gem, pity, commonplace, hard-pressed, strain, manufactured, insufferable, detect, odor, sniff. And in case you think I'm making it up, here's another randomly selected two page spread--crochety, miffed, appearance, cosmetics, strategically, perfumed, festooned, bangles, inexpressible.  I'm not big on "vocabulary" lessons where teachers find the interesting/difficult words and have kids look them up in dictionaries, but I do think this book would lend itself to lots of interesting discussions about how carefully poets/authors choose words.

Prelutsky is a hall-of-famer when it comes to poetry for kids. And this is another classic!


Kyle said...

OK so I had my poems picked for next week, but I will have to add a new one. thanksgiving Math makes me laugh.

Carol said...

I thought the same thing, Kyle! I knew exactly what poems I wanted to pass onto people, but then I found this one!