Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Step Gently Out

Title: Step Gently Out 
Authors: Helen Frost and Rick Lieder 
Publisher: Candlewick Press 
Publication Date: March 2012 
Genre/Format: Poetry/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Stunning close-up photography and a lyrical text implore children to look more closely at the world around them.

Be still, and watch a single blade of grass.
An ant climbs up to look around.
A honeybee flies past.

What would happen if you walked very, very quietly and looked ever so carefully at the natural world outside? You might see a cricket leap, a moth spread her wings, or a spider step across a silken web. In simple, evocative language, Helen Frost offers a hint at the many tiny creatures around us. And in astonishing close-up photographs, Rick Lieder captures the glint of a katydid's eye, the glow of a firefly, and many more living wonders just awaiting discovery. Fascinating facts about all the creatures pictured may be found at the end. 
What I Think: Since I am on a quest to read more poetry this year, I was ecstatic when I received an e-mail from Candlewick about some poetry books they had available for me to review (not that I ever turn down any books from Candlewick...but I was super excited about poetry from them). This book does not disappoint. While I am pro-animals, I sometimes have a hard time identifying with insects...and this book made me really appreciate and love these tiny, voracious creatures. I love how the photographs in the book really bring the reader up close and personal with these insects. Even more, I love how the text magically causes the reader to slow down and marinate in the words while taking in the photos of these insects. Poems that rhyme speak directly to my heart and this poetry is fantastic in it's rhythm and rhyme. It's beautiful in every sense. I love books like Step Gently Out that make me feel calm and light after I am done reading them. It's remarkable.

I have been working on descriptive writing with some of my middle school students. We read what some great authors have written and look at which and how many literary elements these authors employ. I think it's time to bring in Step Gently Out and show them how rhyme and rhythm can really impact the mood and tone of a piece of writing.
Read Together: Grades Pre-K - 12 
Read Alone: Grades Pre-K - 12 
Read With: Outside Your Window by Nicola Davies, And Then It's Spring Julie Fogliano, The Curious Garden by Peter Brown, Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, House Held Up By Trees by Ted Kooser, Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin, Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner 
Snatch of Text:  
"Step gently out,
be still,
and watch
a single blade
of grass."
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Asking Questions 
Writing Strategies to Practice: Poetry, Descriptive, Expository, Alliteration 
Writing Prompts: Go outside and observe nature, sit and listen to the sounds around you, use your five senses; write a poem that honors your observations and what you learned from all of your sense. Choose one of the insects from the book to research further, then write a poem or expository text about that particular insect. 
Topics Covered: Science-Insects, Nature,
Jen *hearts* It:
*Tremendous thanks to Candlewick Press for providing me a copy of this book to review.*

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