CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 4. . . .September 25, 2009
Being of a somewhat older generation, my liking of poetry is relatively nonexistent. One might only blame that on the way in which it was taught in the “olden days”! Had I been exposed to the likes of Avis Harley’s poems, it most certainly would be a different story. Her poems are delightful. I have been fortunate to have heard Avis on several occasions – one being a rhyming introduction of a guest speaker. What fun!
Harley can certainly entice children to enjoy reading and writing their own poetry. In this book, she explores acrostics while highlighting African animals. Each two-page spread features a poem faced by a close-up photograph of the subject. The alluring titles, such as “Moody Guy,” “Skysweepers,” “The Watcher,” “Untamed” and “Sipping the Sunset,” cannot help but capture the natural curiosity of children. In the poems which range in length from five to 14 lines long, Harley is able to capture the essence of each animal with well-chosen words – often humorously. In “Buffalo Bluff,” she begins:
When you meet with a buffalo fellow
And you feel your legs turn into Jello,
Though your fear is acute,
Calmly say to the brute,
Hello, you great beast of a bellow!
Marilynne V. Black, a former B.C. elementary teacher-librarian who completed her Master of Arts in Children’s Literature (UBC) in the spring of 2005, is now working as an independent children's literature consultant with a web site at www.heartofthestory.ca.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.