For Laura Purdie Salas of Wordy Girls
Laura asked for poems about guinea pigs and rock music. Let me say this: Poems about guinea pigs aren’t found in abundance in children’s poetry books.
Here’s A Guinea-pig Song (Anonymous 1773)
A GUINEA-PIG SONG
There was a little guinea-pig,
Who, being little, was not big;
He always walked upon his feet,
And never fasted when he eat.
When from a place he run away,
He never at the place did stay;
And while he run, as I am told,
He ne’er stood still for young or old.
He often squeaked, and sometimes violent,
And when he squeaked he ne’er was silent.
Though ne’er instructed by a cat,
He knew a mouse was not a rat.
One day, as I am certified,
He took a whim and fairly died;
And as I am told by men of sense,
He never has been living since.
The poem above, which I can’t say I think is fine literature, can be found in the following book—which also includes an acrostic poem about a guinea pig written by a boy named Jake:
Edited by Robert Foster
Illustrated by Sally Kindberg
Faber and Faber, 1989
There is also a brief rhyming poem about a child’s pet guinea pig entitled Lullabies written by Katie McAllaster Weaver that can be found in the following I Can Read Book:
A PET FOR ME: POEMS
Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by Jane Manning
Laura, I also found a website where you can read some haikus and tankas—purportedly written by a pet guinea pig named Piggywig. Click here to go to Tomato Leaf and Other Notions of Love.
I highly recommend the following picture book, which is a story of two pet guinea pigs that escape from their cage and end up inside the “tunnels” of a pool table. It’s an excellent book to read aloud to young children.
JOHN WILLY AND FREDDY MCGEE
Written & illustrated by Holly Meade
Marshall Cavendish, 1998
Here are two poems about rock music. Both can be found in the following anthology:
CALL DOWN THE MOON: POEMS OF MUSIC
Selected by Myra Cohn Livingston
Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1995
From NO STATIC
by Monica Kulling
dialing down the stations
tune in hot-shot rock
a compact sound companion
everywhere I walk…
walking with my radio
the city noises gone
the place between my ears
From WAY DOWN IN THE MUSIC
by Eloise Greenfield
I get way down in the music
Down inside the music
I let it wake me
Spin me around and make me
Way Down in the Music can also be found in the following poetry collection:
HONEY, I LOVE AND OTHER LOVE POEMS
Written by Eloise Greenfield
Illustrated by Diane and Leo Dillon
Harper & Row, 1978
Laura, you may also want to look for Jaime Adoff’s poetry book entitled THE SONG SHOOTS OUT OF MY MOUTH. This collection contains twenty-four free verse poems about all different types of music—including rock, jazz, hip hop, and reggae…as well as a poem praising Mozart’s work.
THE SONG SHOOTS OUT OF MY MOUTH: A CELEBRATION OF MUSIC
Written by Jaime Adoff
Illustrated by Martin French
Dutton Children’s Books, 2002
For Vivian of HipWriterMama
Vivian asked for a poem about the frustration of dealing with a crashed laptop and a ranting poem that would make someone feel better afterward.
Vivian, these poems are the closest I could come to finding the kinds you are looking for.
by Gwendolyn Brooks
A computer is a machine.
A computer is interesting.
A machine is useful.
I can study a computer.
I can use it…
I conduct a computer.
A computer does not conduct me.
Computer can be found in the following book:
THE PLACE MY WORDS ARE LOOKING FOR
Selected by Paul B. Janeczko
Bradbury Press, 1990
(I had two experiences in successive summers a few years back. My house got hit during lightning storms and my computer got zapped in both storms! Fortunately, a computer technician at my husband’s company was able to retrieve all my files. I know…I know! I should back up all my files.)
I have a ranting poem by Karla Kuskin that was one my students always enjoyed listening to me read aloud. I can’t type the poem exactly the way it appears in books with the text getting increasingly larger as you read it from beginning to end to show how much angrier the child keeps growing.
From I WOKE UP THIS MORNING
by Karla Kuskin
I woke up this morning
at quarter past seven
I kicked up the covers
and stuck out my toe.
And ever since then
(that’s a quarter past seven)
they haven’t said anything
other than “no.”
They haven’t said anything
other than “Please, dear,
don’t do what you’re doing,”
or “Lower your voice.”
Whatever I’ve done
and however I’ve chosen,
I’ve done the wrong thing
and I’ve made the wrong choice…
I didn’t say sorry
I didn’t stand straighter.
I didn’t speak louder
when asked what I’d said.
Well, I said that tomorrow
at quarter past seven
come in and get me.
I’m Staying In Bed.
This poem can be found in the following books:
MOON, HAVE YOU MET MY MOTHER: THE COLLECTED POEMS OF KARLA KUSKIN
Illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
Laura Geringer/HarperCollins, 2003
TALKING LIKE THE RAIN: A FIRST BOOK OF POEMS
(TALKING LIKE THE RAIN: A READ-TO-ME BOOK OF POEMS)
Selected by X. J. and Dorothy Kennedy
Illustrated by Jane Dyer
Little, Brown, 1992
Another poem I found isn’t exactly a ranting poem—it’s a sulking poem:
by Felice Holman
Till I forget
What it’s about
Sulk can be found in the following book:
THE RANDOM HOUSE BOOK OF POETRY FOR CHILDREN
Selected by Jack Prelutsky
Illustrated by Arnold Lobel
Random House, 1983
And here’s an excerpt from Mean Song:
From MEAN SONG
by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers
I’m warning you,
stay out of my way.
Today’s my day
for being mean mean mean!
So better stay clear.
Don’t even come near
or I’ll look at you mean
and you’ll wither away…
So better stay clear.
Keep out of my way.
I got up on the wrong
side of the bed today,
and I’m feeling mean—
and I mean mean.
I feel better already!
Mean Song can be found in the following book:
THE WAY I FEEL…SOMETIMES
Written by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers
Illustrated by Susan Meddaugh
Note to Laura and Vivian: If I find more poems for you, I’ll post them at Wild Rose Reader at a later date.