Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Four Mask Poems about Spring Peepers

I enjoy writing mask poems. It's especially fun taking on the personality of an animal that I have learned about and speaking in its voice.

One of my favorite books of animal mask poems is Marilyn Singer's TURTLE IN JULY, which was beautifully illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. In this book, Singer speaks in a different animal's voice each month--a deer in January, a barn owl in February, a bear in March, etc. She also speaks in the voice of a bullhead fish in each of the four seasons.

TURTLE IN JULY and Karla Kuskin's ANY ME I WANT TO BE are the two books that got me hooked on writing mask poems. Unfortunately, ANY ME I WANT TO BE is out of print. You might be able to find a used copy online.  I think TURTLE IN JULY is still  available in library binding. I highly recommend both books!

Last year, I worked on a collection of mask poems told in the voices of familiar animals and plants that takes readers through the cycle of a year. I wrote four poems about spring peepers--one for each season.
Listen to spring peepers at this link:


Awakened from my winter sleep
And ready to mate—I peep and peep
At night to woo a lady fair.
My heartfelt singing fills spring air.

Above this vernal pool I wait
And eagerly anticipate
That special someone who will be 
The perfect froggy gal for me!


The day we hatched from jellied eggs…
We looked like fish. We had no legs.
We breathed through gills. We had no lungs.
We didn’t have long sticky tongues.
We didn’t look like frogs…for sure.
But then we started to mature.
And day by day we changed and grew.
To tails and gills we bid adieu.
Now we have lungs and four fine limbs…
And we can croak
and jump
AND swim!


Summer was fun—so full of flies,
Beetles, ants, and sunny skies,
Cricket song…warm, lazy nights,
Dew in the grass and other delights.

Now it is time to find a space
Under a log—a snuggly place
Where I can hibernate till spring
When I will reawake and sing.


Quiet please.
Do not disturb.
Don’t jog this log
While I’m asleep.
I need to get a good long rest.
In spring, I must be at my best!

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 15-21). 




Jane Heitman Healy said...

What a fun way to explore creatures through the cycle of the year!

mbhmaine said...

I love your spring peepers poems! Your book is one of my favorite mentor texts to use with children when writing poetry, and now I'm going to check out the other two you mention. Thanks!