I react to the mail the way the citizens do in the Music Man when the Wells Fargo wagon comes to town. I’ve even been known to sing when a package arrives. Even in the days of online shopping, when packages are regular, they still get me excited. But even better is one I’m not expecting. Such was the case with this beautiful gem of a book, which arrived unannounced from the publisher for a review. It’s the perfect time for a beach book, as it’s getting warmer and I’m about to order the next size up of bathing suits (online of course).
Title: Water Sings Blue
Author: Kate Coombs
Illustrator: Meilo So
Genre: Picture Book, Science and Nature
Ages: 0 – 9
Summary and Review: I have a soft spot for poetry picture books. I think poetry is the perfect way to introduce beautiful verse to a child. Children get poetry in a way that English PhD’s are still trying to figure out. And it allows you to read the whole book or just a few favorites, depending on the child, the time, and the interests. This books includes a wide range of poems.
Old Driftwood is beautifully visual:
Old Driftwood / has been to sea / an come back home / unexpectedly.
Gnarled sailor / now he sits high / up on the beach / beyond the tide,
telling of mermaids / and whales thi-i-i-s big / to all the attentive / astonished twigs.
What the Waves Say is rhythmically lyrical:
Shimmer and run, catch the sun. / Ripple thin, catch the wind.
Shift and splash, drift and dash. / Slow and gray, foggy day.
Whisper hush, murmur shush. / Swell and sigh, otter lullaby.
Journey on with a yawn. / Swirl and swish, play with fish.
Roll green, rise and lean— / wake and roar and strike the shore!
and Nudibranch is just silly:
The nudibranch / has dropped his clothes / in a spot not even / his mother slug knows.
Follow up with the kids: The poems are simple enough that they will be accessible to a really young audience. (A few of them might irritate a more serious poet, but I don’t usually pretend to be a more serious poet.)
Kids might like to write their own beach poems, especially during a vacation at the beach—maybe you need something to do when its raining? You could help younger kids by letting them copy the meter of one of the poems in the book. Or even let them use the rhyming words at the end and come up with some of their own words for the rest of the lyrics. How great would your family photo album be for your beach trip with some original art and poetry by your kids!
Or, let your children explore with watercolors and paint their own scenes to these (or their own) poems.
Another fun activity would be to hand the kids a camera (maybe a toy one if they are really young) and let them photograph areas of the beach that could illustrate these (or their own) poems. Then when you get back to doing that family photo album, you will have some of their own photos and maybe even some of their own poems to include!
Your turn: Are you heading to the beach? Do you have any favorite beach poems or poetry picture books?