Friday, March 5, 2010

6th March Rose Fyleman (1877 -1957) Chris Raschka (1959)


I think mice
Are rather nice.

Their tails are long,
Their faces small,
They haven't any
Chins at all.
Their ears are pink,
Their teeth are white,
They run about
The house at night,
They nibble things
They shouldn't touch
And no one seems
To like them much.

But I think mice
Are nice.

~ Rose Fyleman

Rose Fyleman has always fascinated me. She seemed to be so good at so many things. She sang professionally, studied singing in France and Germany, translated German and French books into English and wrote very rhythmic poetry. She is probably best known for her fairy poems, but I love her poem Mice even though I don't like mice. The children are always amazed when I can recite it without the words in front of me. Does it really hurt to know a few poems off by heart? Maybe it is because my teachers made me learn poems off by heart and have a separate poetry exercise book that I love poetry!

Chris Raschka wasn't born until after Rose Fyleman had died, but he has already made his mark, and like her is multitalented. He plays the viola, writes and illustrates, and his book A Poke in the Eye is an anthology of concrete poetry so there is a poetry connection as well. He won the Caldecott Medal in 2006 for Norton Juster's The Hello, Goodbye Window. It is not one of my favourite picture books, but if you haven't seen The Purple Balloon it is worth a look. This book has a simple text and very gentle illustrations but it tackles a difficult theme in a way that offers reassurance to children dealing with death and illness. It is always hard to talk to young children about difficult times in their lives so it is good to have a few good resources that you can use as starting points.

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