Saturday, November 10, 2012

I like a few facts with my poetry…

I love it when poetry and science collide. You know, those books that include not only poetry, but also have a few facts thrown. One of my favorite 2011 CYBILS Poetry nominees was COUSINS OF CLOUDS, a book of poems and facts about elephants. This year's CYBILS nominees also include a couple of poem/fact books.

unBEElievables, one of Douglas Florian's newest books, is classic Florian- interesting information, clever word play, and gorgeous illustrations. Each two-page spread includes a poem, a paragraph of factual information, and then a gorgeous collage-type illustration. Here's a sample:

"Bees Buzz"
All day we bees
Just buzz and buzz
That's what we duzz
And duzz and duzz.
Why are we full
Of fuzz and fuzz?
Bee-cuzz bee-cuzz
The fuzz the fuzz
Helps pollen stick
To uzz to uzz.

Then the accompanying factual paragraph:
Bees beat their wings rapidly when they fly. This causes the air around them to vibrate, and the vibration causes bees' signature buzzing sound. The fuzzy hairs on bees' bodies have an electrostatic charge, which helps attract a flower's pollen grains.
Thirteen additional poems teach readers about bees' body parts, jobs (queen, worker, drone), dances, pollination and Colony Collapse Disorder. A BEEbliography includes books and websites where readers can find additional information.

TAKE TWO: A CELEBRATION OF TWINS is another poem/fact book. Two literary powerhouses, J. Patrick Lewis (a twin) and Jane Yolen (the niece, sister-in-law and grandmother of twins), have joined forces to write 45 poems about twins. There are sections  about "Twins in the Waiting Womb," "Twinfants," "How to be One," and "Famous Twins." And each two page spread includes at least one twin fact. Did you know that the study of twins is called gemellology? Or that identical twins have the same brain wave patterns? That there were 2,038 sets of twins at the Twins' Day Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio?


We are not 
The only twos:
Socks come in pairs
As well as shoes.
Eyes are double
Hands and feet
Legs are twosome,
Ears repeat
All the best things
Come in two"
You with me
And me with you.

Don Graves used to always say that poets were a lot like scientists. Both have to observe the world very, very closely. Generally, I agree with just about anything Don Graves said, but I especially agree with that. It's great to find a few other authors that agree.

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