Now J. Patrick Lewis gives us a “Poetry 180” for elementary and middle grade students in his newest collection, Countdown to Summer: A Poem for Every Day of the School Year, a book that actually contains 180 poems. All written by Lewis himself! Yes, that means the book has a different poem for teachers to share with their students every single day.
Countdown to Summer: A Poem for Every Day of the School Year
Written by J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrations by Ethan Long
Little, Brown (2009)
Here’s A Sixth Grader Sees the Future—one of my favorites in the book—in which a student relates his joy (?) at being back in school. I laugh every time I read it.
In a billion years, A. D.,
Our sun will shine for none to see.
The sea will miss each passing ship;
The sky will hover over zip.
Those blazing stars will start to cool,
And I won’t have to go to school.
In a billion years from now—
Or maybe more—but anyhow,
The earth may shrivel up and die.
The universe? Pi in the sky.
The future, spinning, may have spun.
And I may have my homework done.
There are poems in Countdown for Summer that could serve as springboards for creative writing exercises. I think middle grade kids would have fun writing their own poetic epitaphs. Here are some of Lewis’s animal and “people” epitaphs.
FOR A SHEEP
NO ONE WILL EVER FORGET EWE
FOR A BOLL WEEVIL
GONE BUT NOT FOR COTTON
For a Plastic Surgeon
He took in hips,
He tucked in chins,
He fattened lips,
And smoothed out skins,
And narrowed noses.
Now here he lies…
Kids might also enjoy trying their hands at writing some Doozies for Twosies: Animal Sweet Talk.
From the book:
“Elsie, you’re my heart’s content.
I love you more than…two percent!”
“Why don’t you stay, my Honeybunch,
A little while? I’ll make you…lunch.”
In School’s Out!, the final poem, a child—with fingers crossed—expresses his feelings about the end of the school year.
School is out and I’m so sad
(That is what I told my dad.)
I’ll miss Mrs. Rosenbaum
(That is what I told my mom.)
Tests are over—what a bummer.
This’ll be a boring summer.
School is out and I feel lost.
(It’s hard to keep my fingers crossed!)
My thanks to J. Patrick Lewis for granting me permission to post his poems in my review.
At Political Verses, I have a poem that I wrote for Tricia’s Poetry Stretch this week: A Going Back to Parochial School Poem--Circa 1956—which I also posted at Wild Rose Reader this week.
At Blue Rose Girls, I have a poem by Ron Koertge titled First Grade.
The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Book Aunt this week.