Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sidman Poetry: Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night


Sidman, J. (2010). Dark emperor and other poems of the night. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Illustrated by Rick Allen. ISBN:9780547152288


Sidman presents a wonderful poetry book involving nature. The text contains twelve entries, "Welcome to the Night; Snail at Moonrise; Love Poems of the Primrose Moth; Dark Emperor; Oak after Dark; Night-Spider's Advance; I am a Baby Porcupette; Cricket Speaks; The Mushrooms Come; Ballad of the Wandering Eft; Bat Wraps Up; Moon's Lament." The text ends with a glossary. There are many poetic forms found in this book such as verse, concrete, lyrical and rhymes. Each poem's format is easy to follow and is accompanied with interesting information on the poem's subject. The print illustrations are full of detail and give the reader a front row view of a nighttime creature's world . Allen's illustrations are stunning and provide life to the poems. Teachers will appreciate the science element and this gives the opportunity to provide fun and engaging poetry breaks!


"I Am a Baby Porcupette"

I am a baby porcupette.
My paws are small; my nose is wet.
And as I nurse against my mom,
we mew and coo a soft duet.

I am a baby porcupette.
I cannot climb up branches yet.
While Mom sleeps in the trees, I curl
beneath a log till sun has set.

I am a baby porcupette.
I nibble in the nighttime wet:
a sprig of leaves, a tuft of grass,
in hidden spots I won't forget.

I am a baby porcupette.
My fur is soft; my eyes are jet.
But I can deal with any threat:
I raise my quills
and pirouette.

Introducing the Poem:

I really like the science element in this poem! I would use a porcupette puppet or even a flannel board to re-tell this poem to children. I would ask children to draw a porcupette and as a group create a habitat similar to the poem's for their porcupette to live in. Another activity would be to have children journal a poem about an animal that they have observed in the zoo or one they live with (cat, dog, hamster, bird, etc.).

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