Thursday, September 23, 2010

Meow Ruff-A Story in Concrete Poetry by Joyce Sidman

Okay, I admit, I'm on a bit of a poetry kick.  And while I have only reviewed three children's books on the blog so far (this is the second, recent one), I have to mention this title.  Why?  Because it's as much fun for adults as it is for little kids.

I'm taking an English class that is studying poetry, and it discusses using 'concrete' words rather than 'concept words'.  So instead of addressing all the intangible aspects of description (love, freedom, etc), a poet will make more impact from using concrete words that describe actual tangible things.  So when I found this children's book at our local library, my son loved the pictures and I loved the words.  The illustrations are sweet, yet simple-almost a pop-art/anime style.  The illustrator incorporated the text into the actual artwork, so a tree is made up of words, as is the grass.  In the meantime, a cat, a dog, and some feisty crows create the story.

Here's the tree, where the font increases and decreases in size and width to create the canopy and narrows into the trunk: 
Each leaf
rippling and
each twig
and shivering
each branch
feeling the wind's
whisper but the
hearted gnarl-armed

The grass is described in a long, thin font that looks like grass blades:
wind-whispered grass
seed-studded grass

Later on, a table, rain, and even clouds are made up of concrete poetry.  A fun book for kids and moms...

Book courtesy of my local library!  Check out yours!


  1. wow this looks amazing! My boy is much too little for this yet, however, his collection of books for when he is older seems to be growing by the day..... I think this is one for his collection as it is so unique. As an adult I think I have lost the ability to appreciate poetry (mostly just due to not taking the time to read it really) but as a child I loved my poetry books. I had a favourite about an elephant who gets stuck in a telephone box. Ok, now I'm inspired to see if I can find a copy of that collection - one that got lost somewhere as I grew up.

  2. I love when the poetry is woven with the shapes that the words describe. I will try to get a hold of this book to share with my daughter.