Tuesday, April 24, 2018

FOLLOW THE LEMON DROP ROAD: An Original Poem from an Unpublished Collection

Years ago, I began working on a collection of poems about sweet things. There were two different versions of the manuscript. One included poems just about candy. The other contained poems about all kinds of sweet things--including donuts, pudding, popsicles, a birthday cake.

My good friend Grace Lin and I planned to collaborate on the project. We even took a "investigative field trip" to YUMMIES, a famous candy store in southern Maine where we found hundreds of different kinds of candies--some of which I hadn't seen in decades. You can read about our trip here: How Sweet It Is!: A Poetry Tale.

In 2011, when Grace was out in San Francisco, she spoke with Melissa Manlove, an editor at Chronicle Books. She told Melissa she had a manuscript written by a friend that she wanted to send to her. Grace had planned to send Melissa my manuscript of candy poems. After some thought, Grace decided to send her my THINGS TO DO manuscript. I will be forever grateful to Grace for doing that. My book THINGS TO DO might never have been published if it hadn't been for her! I might never have received a 2018 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor Award or the 2018 Margaret Wise Brown Children'sLiterature Prize.

NOTE: I also owe a debt of gratitude to my wonderful editor Melissa Manlove who helped me shape my manuscript into the book it became...and to Catia Chien, the talented artist who created beautiful, dreamy illustrations for my text.

Here is one of the poems from SWEET TOOTH, my unpublished collection of candy poems:


A good witch gave me directions to Candyland.

She told me to follow the Lemon Drop Road

Straight past Vegetable Valley

And Eat-It-It’s-Good-for-You Village.

She said to beware of the sugarless not-so-gummy bears

And bitter chocolate bunnies

Who often fool unsuspecting travelers

With their phony sweet talk,

And entice them to eat only healthful foods

Like broccoli and Brussels sprouts.


I’m glad she warned me.

I can’t wait to reach my destination.


I must follow the Lemon Drop Road…

follow the Lemon Drop Road

follow the Lemon Drop Road

follow the Lemon Drop Road

follow the Lemon Drop Road…

Don't forget! I'm giving away signed copies of my book THINGS TO DO during April. All you have to do to qualify to have your named entered into next Sunday's drawing is to comment on one of the blogs that I posted during this third week of National Poetry Month (April 22-28). 


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