Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Squirrels by Jack Prelutsky


Squirrels, often found in parks,
Have tails, resembling question marks.
It's just coincidental, though:
There's little squirrels care to know.
--Jack Prelutsky

For years I thought this poem was by Ogden Nash because he wrote a lot of short poems about animals. I was only a little surprised when I found out that it was by Jack Prelutsky. He's one of my favorite children's poets along with Ogden Nash, Shel Silverstein, and Robert Louis Stevenson. I also was sad to notice that I had memorized it wrong -- he has 'resembling' 'little' and 'care' where I had 'shaped like' 'nothing' and 'want'.

I had an interesting experience last night related to this project. I started collecting poems last week in order to make a book of poetry to give to the little(second grade) girl I tutor on our last session at the end of May. We've discovered that she loves poetry, especially when it's got a tune (like half the nursery rhymes and a few of RL Stevenson's). She really seems to like the rhythm and rhyme, and will read with about twice the fluency when reading poetry -- she sounds out hard words more quickly, and doesn't seem to mind as much about words she doesn't understand.

Anyway, last night, we were wrapping up our session, and had time for one more story, so she pulled out A Child's Garden of Verses which we had read before, and flipped to Bed in Summer, and asked me to read it to her -- just so she could listen to her favorite poem. That sort of thing makes me happy. (by the way, I've completed my book, including illustrations -- I printed it out, and put each poem in the page of a photo album.)


  1. Poems I have memorized, by Randy Stay

    Adam had'm

    Don't Cry Little Fishy
    Don't cry don't cry
    Don't cry little fishy
    Don't cry, don't cry.

    Your mommy loves you'
    Your daddy too
    If you don't stop crying
    I'll feed you some glue.

    My name is Michael I'm three years old
    My name is Michael I'm big and bold.

    My name is Karen, I'm three years old
    My name is Karen, My hair is gold.


  2. That is so very nice of you, Karen, to make her a book and encourage her in her reading. ONE good teacher can make all the difference.

  3. I just looked up Bed in Summer the other day to read to Daniel and explain the situation to him.


  4. So you used it to explain that he's not the only one who has to do that?


  5. Right, that this was one of the universally acknowledged injustices in the world, that he was not alone, that a great poet had expressed the same feelings that he was having. It is an expression of the utter unnaturalness of civilization.

    He liked the fact that it rhymed.


  6. some variations on the theme:

    Bunnies, often found in myriads,
    have tails shaped like periods...

    Alpacas (relatives of llamas)
    have tails shaped like little commas...

    Koalas, who like eucalyptus,
    have tails shaped like cute ellipses...


  7. Very funny Doug. I especially like the koalas

  8. those are very funny, doug. Mom