Recently my 3rd grade daughter had a quick unit on poetry. I was thrilled that they were teaching this as it is such an important style of writing. The more comfortable you can get kids with poetry at an early age, the better, in my opinion.
So when we found the book Echo & Echo, by Marilyn Singers, which not only was written in verse, but about Greek Mythology, I grabbed it up! My 3rd grader loved it as well. Kids and adults will find this book captivating.
Echo & Echo is a book of reverso poems where the poem is written twice – read top to bottom and then bottom to top. The fabulous thing about having them written this way is that it manages to highlight the fact that reading the poem differently also manages to tell the story from someone else’s perspective, which can be exactly opposite to the story most of us know. We have enjoyed studying perspective lately as well, since it is good to realize that things change depending on who tells you the story and that there are many sides to every tale.
Since many of these myths might be unknown to young readers, and not fully remembered by many adults, each poem has a brief explanation of the myth at the bottom of the page. Each poem is also accompanied by gorgeous illustrations by Josée Masse. (If you enjoy these, Marilyn Singer has 2 earlier books of reverso poems that deal with fairy tales)
Speaking of poetry, we found a wonderful book that combines poetry with a love of books and libraries. In Jumping off Library Shelves, Lee Bennett Hopkins put together a marvelous collection of books praising the library.
These poems are aimed at the young poet and they read remarkably well. In terms of poetry, it is nice that not all of them rhyme as it helps children understand that rhyming is not a requirement. The poems explore subjects from taking refuge in the library, the power of a library card, the brilliance of a librarian, and the power of a storyteller. There is even a poem with the modern twist of utilizing computers in the library and being an “Internet Explorer.”
In addition to the wonderful poems, Jane Manning has done a marvelous job with illustrations, and whoever did the actual layout of the pages did a nice job of making the lines of text feel like they have movement and shape. As a lover of all things library, I highly recommend this title.