Monday, January 4, 2016

Poet/Poetry Study - The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems

This year, as part of Olivia's homeschool lessons in English, we are doing poet/poetry studies. We've been doing this for a few years now using the list at the Simply Charlotte Mason website.

In addition to the poets listed there, we also are using the Sonlight book list which includes The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems edited by Donald Hall. We did a combination of me reading the poems aloud to Olivia; and Olivia reading some of the poems on her own.

From the book, she chose ones that resonated with her. The poems follow.

Mother's Song to a Baby
Brian Swann based on adaptations from "Mother's Song to a Baby" from Song of the Sky: Version of Native American Song-Poems and "She Will Gather Roses" from Native American Songs and Poems: An Anthology

this little baby
has been given life
through the medicine man's song
through the medicine man's prayer
for this baby the songs
have been sung

the baby's mother
has taken care of him
with the songs of the rain gods

little baby
in his cloud-cradle
was watched over
by his mother

how the clouds
came up like foam
as if he
was among them
this little baby
was cared for

Taken May 22, 2013


The Cow-Boy's Song
Anna Maria Wells

"Mooly cow, mooly cow, home from the wood
They sent me to fetch you as fast as I could.
The sun has gone down: it is time to go home.
Mooly cow, mooly cow, who don't you come?
Your udders are full, and the milkmaid is there,
And the children all waiting their supper to share.
I have let the long bars down, -- why don't you pass through?"
The mooly cow only said, "Moo-o-o!"

"Mooly cow, mooly cow, have you not been
Regaling all day where the pastures are green?
No doubt it was pleasant, dear mooly, to see
The clear running brook and the wide-spreading tree.
The clover to crop, and the streamlet to wade,
To drink the cool water and lie in the shade;
But now it is night: they are waiting for you."
The mooly cow only said, "Moo-o-o!"

"Mooly cow, mooly cow, where do you go,
When all the green pastures are covered with snow?
You go to the barn, and we feed you with hay,
And the maid goes to milk you there, every day;
She pats you, she loves you, she strokes your sleek hide,
She speaks to you kindly, and sits by your side:
Then come along home, pretty mooly cow, do."
The mooly cow only said, "Moo-o-o!"

"Mooly cow, mooly cow, whisking your tail,
The milkmaid is waiting, I say, with her pail;
She tucks up her petticoats, tidy and neat,
And places the three-legged stool for her seat: --
What can you be staring at, mooly? You know
That we ought to have gone home an hour ago.
How dark it is growing! O, what shall I do?"
The mooly cow only said, "Moo-o-o!"

Taken April 30, 2008.


Ralph Waldo Emerson

The mountain and the squirrel
Had a quarrel;
And the former called the latter "Little Prig."
Bun replied,
"You are doubtless very big;
But all sorts of things and weather
Must be taken in together
To make up a year
And a sphere.
And I think it's no disgrace
To occupy my place.
If I'm not so large as you,
You are not so small as I,
And not half so spry.
I'll not deny you make
A very pretty squirrel track;
Talents differ: all is well and wisely put;
If I cannot carry forests on my back,
Neither can you crack a nut."

Taken January 18, 2013.


The Camel's Complaint
Charles E. Carryl

Canary-birds feed on sugar and seed.
Parrots have crackers to crunch.
And as for the poodles, they tell me the noodles
have chicken and cream for their lunch.
But there's never a question
about my digestion.
Anything is okay for me.

Cats, you know, can sleep in a chair.
Chickens can rest upon rails.
Puppies are able to sleep in a stable,
and oysters can nap in pails.
But no one supposes
a poor camel dozes.
Any place is okay for me.

Lambs are indoors out of the sun.
Coops are built for hens.
Kittens are treated to houses well heated,
and pigs are protected by pens.
But a camel is handy
wherever it's sandy.
Anywhere is okay for me.

People would laugh if you rode a giraffe,
or rode the back of an ox.
It's nobody's habit to ride on a rabbit,
or to try to ride a fox.
But as for a camel,
he carries families.
Any load is okay for me.

A snake is as round as a hole in the ground,
and weasels are wavy and sleek.
And no alligator could ever be straighter
than lizards that live in a creek.
But a camel's all lumpy
and bumpy and humpy.
Any shape is okay for me.

Taken August 5, 2007.


Laura Elizabeth Richards

Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant—
No! No! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone—
(Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even now I’ve got it right.)
Howe’er it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk;
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee—
(I fear I’d better drop the song
Of elephop and telephong!)

Taken on February 2, 2011.


The Little Turtle
Vachel Lindsay

There was a little turtle.
He lived in a box.
He swam in a puddle.
He climbed on the rocks.

He snapped at a mosquito.
He snapped at a flea.
He snapped at a minnow.
And he snapped at me.

He caught the mosquito.
He caught the flea.
He caught the minnow.
But he didn't catch me.

Taken on May 30, 2013.


About the Teeth of Sharks
John Ciardi

The thing about a shark is—teeth,
One row above, one row beneath.

Now take a close look. Do you find
It has another row behind?

Still closer—here, I’ll hold your hat:
Has it a third row behind that?

Now look in and...Look out! Oh my,
I’ll never know now! Well, goodbye.

Taken on January 31, 2008.


The Folk Who Live in Backward Town
Mary Ann Hoberman

The folk who live in Backward Town
Are inside out and upside down.
They wear their hats inside their heads
And go to sleep beneath their beds.
They only eat the apple peeling
And take their walks across the ceiling.

Taken on October 1, 2010.


The Witches' Ride
Karla Kuskin

Over the hills
Where the edge of the light
Deepens and darkens
To ebony night,
Narrow hats high
Above yellow bead eyes,
The tatter-haired witches
Ride through the skies.
Over the seas
Where the flat fishes sleep
Wrapped in the slap of the slippery deep,
Over the peaks
Where the black trees are bare,
Where bony birds quiver
They glide through the air.
Silently humming
A horrible tune,
They sweep through the stillness
To sit on the moon.

Taken on January 31, 2008.


The King of Cats Sends a Postcard to His Wife
Nancy Willard

Keep your whiskers crisp and clean.
Do not let the mice grow lean.
Do not let yourself grow fat
like a common kitchen cat.

Have you set the kittens free?
Do they sometimes ask for me?
Is our catnip growing tall?
Did you patch the garden wall?

Clouds are gentle walls that hide
gardens on the other side.
Tell the tabby cats I take
all my meals with William Blake,

lunch at noon and tea at four,
served in splendor on the shore
at the tinkling of a bell.
Tell them I am sleeping well.

Tell them I have come so far,
brought by Blake's celestial car,
buffeted by wind and rain,
I may not get home again.

Take this message to my friends.
Say the King of Catnip sends
to the cat who winds his clocks
a thousand sunsets in a box,

to the cat who brings the ice
the shadows of a dozen mice
(serve them with assorted dips
and eat them like potato chips),

and to the cat who guards his door
a net for catching stars, and more
(if with patience he abide):
catnip from the other side.

Taken on May 7, 2007.


Good Luck Gold
Janet S. Wong

When I was a baby
one month old,
my grandparents gave me
good luck gold:
a golden ring
so soft it bends,
a golden necklace
hooked at the ends,
a golden bracelet
with coins that say
I will be rich
and happy someday.

I wish that gold
would work
real soon.
I need my luck
this afternoon.

Taken on April 29, 2009.


There were old favorites that she liked as well:

The Three Little Kittens
Eliza Lee Follen

The three little kittens, they lost their mittens,
And they began to cry,
"Oh, mother dear, we very much fear,
That we have lost our mittens."

"Lost your mittens, you naughty kittens!
Then you shall have no pie."
"Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow."
"No, you shall have no pie."
"Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow."

The three little kittens found their mittens,
And they began to cry,
"Oh, mother dear, see here, see here!
See, we have found our mittens!"
"Put on your mittens, you silly kittens,
And you shall have some pie."
"Purr-r, purr-r, purr-r,
Oh, let us have some pie!
Purr-r, purr-r, purr-r."

The three little kittens put on their mittens,
And soon ate up the pie,
"Oh, mother dear, we greatly fear,
That we have soiled our mittens."
"Soiled your mittens! You naughty kittens!"
Then they began to sigh,
"Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow,"
Then they began to sigh,
"Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow,"

The three little kittens, they washed their mittens,
And hung them out to dry,
"Oh, mother dear, do not you hear,
That we have washed our mittens?"
"Washed your mittens? Oh, you're good kittens!
But I smell a rat close by."
"Hush, hush! Mee-ow, mee-ow."
"We smell a rat close by,
"Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow."

Taken on November 27, 2012.


Olivia also liked an old favorite that had additional verses that we had not heard before.

Mary’s Lamb
Sarah Josepha Hale

Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow,
And every where that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go;
He followed her to school one day—
That was against the rule,
It made the children laugh and play,
To see a lamb at school.

And so the Teacher turned him out,
But still he lingered near,
And waited patiently about,
Till Mary did appear;
And then he ran to her, and laid
His head upon her arm,
As if he said—“I’m not afraid—
You’ll keep me from all harm.”

“What makes the lamb love Mary so?”
The eager children cry—
“O, Mary loves the lamb, you know,"
The Teacher did reply;—
“And you each gentle animal
In confidence may bind,
And make them follow at your call,
If you are always kind.”

Taken on March 23, 2008.

1 comment:

Rita said...

LOL! I love that you had appropriate pictures to go with many of the poems! :)