Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pug: And Other Animal Poems

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Here at Teach Mentor Texts we are always looking for more ways to support teachers! We've found that teachers seem to be constantly on the lookout for great nonfiction. We know we are! To help with this undying quest for outstanding non-fiction, we are excited to participate in Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detectives. Every Wednesday, you'll find a non-fiction review here - although it may not always be a picture book review. Please visit Kid Lit Frenzy to see what non-fiction others have to share, too.

Title: Pug: And Other Animal Poems 
Author: Valerie Worth 
Illustrator: Steve Jenkins 
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux 
Publication Date: March 2013  
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction/Poetry 
GoodReads Summary: In the follow-up to the well-received Animal Poems, Pug: And Other Animal Poems examines a wide range of animal behavior, from the fleetingness of a fly sipping spilled milk to the constant steely presence of a powerful bull; the greedy meal of a street rat to a cat's quiet gift of a dead mouse on the doorstep. Steve Jenkins's bright collage art brings these small moments to life. 
What I Think: The summary of this book talks about a dead mouse on the doorstep...and that's literally what Steve Jenkins depicts for the poem Mouse. I almost jumped out of my skin when I turned to that page. There are a few other moments in this book when Jenkins' artwork brings Worth's poetry to life that made me squeamish. What I actually love about all the squeamishness (and the non-squeamish pages, too) is that all the poems are based on animals and what they really do. Throughout this book, I found myself connecting with so many of the things that were happening. For example, in the poem Dachshund, she talks about how a dachshund doesn't have anything to really support his or her back...and my neighbor has a dachshund and is always worried about her dog's back because they have so many back issues. I know it's simple, but there are so many moments like this throughout the book where kids will be able to connect to real things that they have experienced. Worth doesn't focus on the things we love about animals...she has poems about titled Fly, Cicada and Opossum.  I felt like I was reading the non-fiction books like Guinness Book of World Records that kids love to look through, pointing out all the gross things and squealing over what they see. Worth and Jenkins make that happen with a poetry picture book.
       There is nothing better than creeping kids out...except maybe kids seeing a teacher creeped out. Which means I love this book even though it some pages literally make my skin crawl! I would definitely pull poems from this book to use as mentor texts. Most of them are short but Worth packs a lot of great description and literary elements to look at even within one poem. I think it would be great fun to read aloud a poem and let kids soak in the description and visualize and then show them the picture and read it again. A great book to use for descriptive writing.
Read Together: Grades K - 12 
Read Alone: Grades 2 - 6 
Read With: Going Ape! by Eduardo Bustos,  Where in the Wild? by David M. Schwartz, Yellow Elephant by Julie Larios, Dogku by Andrew Clements, Won-Ton by Lee Wardlaw
Snatch of Text:

Papery ears
Silk fur
Slim paws

Caught by 
The cat
At midnight:

Left as a
Gift on 
The step. 
(But you reeeeeeeally need to see the artwork to get the full creepy, squemish effect!)
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Visualizing 
Writing Strategies to Practice: Descriptive, Metaphor, Compound Adjectives, Simile, Alliteration, Word Choice, $100 Words  
Writing Prompts: Think of the grossest, weirdest thing you have seen an animal do. Describe what you saw using your five senses and other literary elements to build a clear picture for your reader.
Topics Covered: Animals, Integration - Science, Nature 
I *heart* It:

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