Friday, May 27, 2011

FAX to Snow White: An Original Fairy Tale Poem

Here is another poem from my unpublished collection Excerpts from the Fairy Tale Files. It is written in the form of a FAX from the Seven Dwarfs to Snow White.

TO: Snow White
FROM: The Seven Dwarfs
by Elaine Magliaro

Important message. Urgent. Read!
Our sage advice you must now heed.
Stay in the cottage. Don’t go out.
Your evil stepmom’s hereabout.
She’s dressed up as an ugly crone.
She knows that you are home alone.
Go lock the windows. Bolt the door.
Hide in the closet. Please ignore
Her coy attempts to sell you things:
Poison apples, combs, or rings.
She’s bent on murder. She won’t rest
Until her mirror says she’s best.
Don’t let her trick you. Use your head!
Or she’ll be fairest. You’ll be dead.


Heidi Mordhorst has the Poetry Friday Roundup at My Juicy Little Universe.

At Blue Rose Girls, I have another original fairy tale poem titled The Evil Queen Speaks to Her Magic Mirror.

P.S. We had a wonderful baby shower for my daughter Sara last Sunday. Check out my post about it: A Baby Shower & Everywhere Books!

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Baby Shower & Everywhere Books!

Yesterday was a big day for me.
It was the day of my daughter Sara’s baby shower.
Sara is expecting her first child—and I’m expecting my first grandchild—in July!

I wanted the shower to be extra-special for my only child. I decided to go with a “book” theme. Instead of decorating with flower arrangements—I put board books and blocks in the center of the tables. I also decorated the room with picture books and poetry books. Sara loved it!

I had the cake made at the wonderful bakery that created
the delicious cake for Sara's wedding.

Here I am with "the other" grammy
just before Sara arrived.

We managed to surprise Sara.
She hadn't suspected that we were having a baby shower
yesterday at the same restaurant where she had her wedding reception.

It was fun gathering with family and friends
to celebrate this big event in my daughter’s life.

I can't wait to start reading
great board books, picture books, and poetry books
to my first grandchild!

Here is a poem that I wrote many years ago
about the joy of sharing books
with my Sara when she was a little girl:


A book and chair
Are nice to share
When the edges of day
Are melting away
Into the night.

A book and a chair
Are nice to share—
Touching and talking,
Reading and rocking
Into the night.

Note: I printed that poem and the following one on decorative paper and put them in frames.
They were part of the shower decorations too.
I wrote Such a Little Lady about Sara and her father.

Such a tiny bundle,
Such a small wonder,
Cuddled in the circle
Of her daddy’s strong arms.

Such a little lady,
Such a little love
Snuggled close to daddy’s heart—
Safe from any harm.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Two Original Lollipop Poems

Here are two lollipop poems. I wrote Lollipop Rainbow a couple of years ago for a collection of poems about candy.

Lollipop Rainbow

Circle of sunshine
lemony light
tart on my tongue

Sweet and sour
green balloon
limey, lickable,

Round red planet
a crunchable cherry

Large purple polka dot
of grapy delight

My favorite--
blue raspberry…
taste of sky
melting in my mouth

(Note: I must apologize that the lollipops in the picture I posted aren't round. They're the only lollipops that I had on hand to take a picture of to post with this poem. I bought them for a very special occasion on Sunday. I'll tell you more about the special occasion next week.)

Lollipop Haiku

Yellow lollipop
Lickable lemon-flavored
Tart taste of sunshine

The world’s largest lollipop was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records on June 25, 2002. The cherry-flavored Jolly Rancher weighed 4,016 and measured five feet square and 18.9 inches thick.

At Blue Rose Girls, I have an original poem titled Lilacs.

Julie Larios has the Poetry Friday Roundup over at The Drift Record.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Things to Do If You Are an Eel & A Poetry Announcement

Many, many years ago, I wrote a bunch of animal poems. I don’t think they were particularly good poems—but writing them was definitely a good poetry exercise for me. One of the animal poems that I wrote was about the eel. Here it is:


Eel is slinky, sleek, and mean.
He’s devious and serpentine.
He hides in caves where water’s deep
And coyly feigns the soundest sleep.
But when an unsuspecting prey
Goes swimming by, the eel will slay
The sorry chap with one sharp jolt
From a self-generated lightning bolt.
It’s such a shocking sight to see
Him cooking prey eel-ectrically.
I’d hate to be the passerby
That eel decides he wants to fry!

I sometimes like to experiment with writing a poem in a variety of ways. A few months ago, I rewrote the eel poems it as a “things to do” poem. Here is the result:

Things to Do If You’re an Eel

Hide in caves where water’s deep
And coyly feign the soundest sleep.
But when an unsuspecting prey
Goes swimming by, slip out and slay
The sorry chap with a high-charged jolt—
Zap him with a lightning bolt!
Be the Top Chef of the sea.
Cook your meals eelectrically.


The Poetry Foundation recently announced the new US Children’s Poet Laureate—and I couldn’t be happier with their selection: J. Patrick Lewis. Congratulations to Pat! This is an honor which is well-deserved.

BTW, Pat will also receive the 2011 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children at the NCTE Annual Convention later this year.

From the Poetry Foundation
The 2011 Children’s Poet Laureate speaks.

From School Library Journal
J. Patrick Lewis Named Children's Poet Laureate
By Debra Lau Whelan

From Wild Rose Reader
Wild Rose Reader Interview with J. Patrick Lewis
Click here to read all of my J. Patrick Lewis posts.

Here I am with Pat Lewis and a few of my other favorite children's poets
at the 2009 NCTE Annual Convention in Philadelphia.
From L to R: Janet Wong, Pat, Kris George, Moi, and Rebecca Kai Dotlich


Jama Rattigan has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Here & There: May 10, 2011

The Horn Book

Why We’re Still in Love with Picture Books (Even Though They’re Supposed to Be Dead)
Reports of the demise of the picture book have been greatly exaggerated...
by Allyn Johnston and Marla Frazee

What Makes a Good Baby Shower Book?
by Viki Ash and Betty Carter

The Long Life of To Kill a Mockingbird
by Chelsey Philpot

School Library Journal
Wordless Books: Picture Perfect by Wendy Lukehart (April Issue)

Insects: Bugged Out! by Kathy Piehl (May Issue)

Top 10 Crime Fiction for Youth: 2011 by Gillian Engberg

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Broken Mirrors and Black Cats: A Superstitious Dozen selected by Kate Quealy-Gainer

Publishers Weekly: ShelfTalker
The Stars So Far: Yes or No? by Elizabeth Bluemle

Bank Street College of Education
Children’s Book Awards 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

And the Winner of AT THE SEA FLOOR CAFE Is...

I am happy to announce that Andromeda Jazmon is the winner of At the Sea Floor Cafe: Odd Ocean Critter Poems--which was written by Leslie Bulion and illustrated by Leslie Evans.

Congratulations, Andi! Please email me your snail mail address.


NOTE: Just because National Poetry Month is over--it doesn't mean that we won't still be celebrating children's poetry at Wild Rose Reader! I decided some time ago that the main focus at this blog is going to be children's poetry and books written in verse. I'll probably still write picture book reviews for from time to time. I'll also post book lists and resources for certain subjects. But poetry will be the main event at Wild Rose Reader from now on.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

SWEET DREAM: A Poetic Tale

Last year, I wrote up a post titled How Sweet It is!: A Poetry Tale in which I explained how Grace Lin and I came up with an idea for a poetry collection about candy. We both love sweets! I worked on that collection industriously for months. Then I put it aside and forgot about it. I've never submitted it to a publisher. I’m not sure that I ever will.

I’ve already posted several of the poems from the collection. I thought I'd post another one today as I've extended National Poetry Month at Wild Rose Reader. Here is Sweet Dream--a poem in which I relate a short tale about me and three characters from traditional literature—Hansel, Gretel, and the Gingerbread Boy.


Tired and hungry
After hours of wandering in the forest,
Hansel, Gretel, and I
Come upon a caramel apple orchard.
In the center of the candied fruit trees,
We discover a giant gingerbread house
Dripping with vanilla icing,
Its rock candy windows glistening in the sunlight,
A puff of cotton candy billowing from its chocolate chimney.
We tiptoe up to the peppermint door,
Lick the bright red stripes.
We crunch the peanut brittle bricks,
Nibble on nougatty shutters,
Munch on marshmallow molding.
While feasting on the edible brown bungalow,
We see a pink-frosted gingerbread boy
Jump out a side window.
He looks at us with raisin eyes
And taunts:
“Catch me if you can.
Hah! You can’t catch ME.
I’m the gingerbread man.
I am! I am!””
Then he races off down the path
Toward the river.
We smirk…knowing what
Lies in wait for him:
A sly fox
At the river’s edge.

Hansel and Gretel and the Yummy House

According to Ralph Mannheim’s translation of the tale of Hansel and Gretel in his book Grimms’ Tales for Young and Old, the house that Hansel and Gretel came upon in the forest was made of bread, its roof of cake, and its windows of sparkling sugar. When the old woman who lived in the house, discovered the children nibbling on her cottage, she led them inside and served them a meal of milk, pancakes, sugar, apples, and nuts. Note: No mention of a gingerbread boy living in the house has been recorded in any of the translations or retellings of this old German tale.


At Political Verses, I have a poem by J. Patrick Lewis titled POP-UPS.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Family-Bookshelf.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fourth Week & Final Days of National Poetry Month 2011 Roundup

So sorry that I'm late in posting this roundup. I've been under the weather for several days. I haven't been able to sit at the computer for extended periods of time.

Wild Rose Reader

The Miss Rumphius Effect: Poetry in the Classroom

GottaBook: 30 Poets/30 Days

A Wrung Sponge: Haibun-a-Day

Liz in Ink: Haiku-a-Day

The Poem Farm: Poetic Techniques & Idea-Finding Strategies

A Year of Reading: A Poem-a-Day

Check It Out: 30 Days = 30 Students

Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup: Poetry Potluck Series

Poetry for Children: Poetry Tag

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Monster Goose, Spinster Goose, & More Fractured Nursery Rhymes

I love nursery rhyme parodies! I enjoy reading and writing them.
Here are brief reviews of two collections of nursery rhyme takeoffs for children.

First there was Monster Goose, a collection of rollicking fractured nursery rhymes with poetic parodies written by Judy Sierra and madcap cartoonlike illustrations by Jack E. Davis. The book includes two dozen verses that are sure to get kids laughing—verses like this one about a fellow named Cannibal Horner:

Cannibal Horner
Sat in a corner
Eating a people potpie.
He bit his own thumb
And cried, “Oh, yum, yum,
A tasty young morsel am I!”

And this one about Mary who had a vampire bat:

Mary had a vampire bat.
His fur was black a s night.
He followed her to school one day
And promised not to bite.
She brought him out for show-and-tell;
The teacher screamed and ran.
And school was canceled for a week,
Just a Mary planned.

Judy Sierra Gives Us the Story Behind the Book

I've always enjoyed parody. As a child, I couldn't wait for the next MAD Magazine to appear at the corner store. In an earlier book, The House that Drac Built, I wrote a monster parody of an old nursery rhyme, and afterwards others kept popping into my head, such as

There was an old zombie who lived in a shoe.
She had so many maggots, she didn't know what to do.
So she soaked them in soapsuds and painted them green.
She'll be giving them out next Halloween.

When I'd put together twenty or so, I sent them to my agent. She found them too juvenile (!) and refused to submit them. I did what any self-respecting writer would do. I got a different agent.

Monster Goose is really all about the illustrations. I have never met the illustrator, Jack E. Davis, but he is exuberantly gross and ghoulish (at least, his art is exuberantly gross and ghoulish). When they see Monster Goose, even the most well-behaved children grab the book and rush to find a private spot where they can savor the illustration of Cannibal Horner's "people pot pie," or the innards of Little Miss Mummy who "kept all her guts in a jar."

Jack E. Davis also captured my spirit on the cover. Monster Goose, c'est moi, wearing reading glasses, typing away on a laptop, a manic gleam in her eye.

Click here to look inside the book.


Now we have a new collection of funny nursery rhyme parodies titled Spinster Goose: Twisted Rhymes for Naughty Children brought to us by author Lisa Wheeler and illustrator Sophie Blackall. Spinster Goose is the sister of Mother Goose. She knows how to handle little urchins who are simply too naughty for Mother Goose. Spinster Goose keeps close watch on the young troublemakers at her school and tries to make sure that they get their comeuppance. I guess one could say that her school is a place of “rhyme and punishment” where…

The pinchers get pinched,
and the pokers get poked.
The biters get bit,
and the smokers get smoked.
The takers get taken.
The sordid get sore.
The shakers get shaken
right down to the core.

One of Spinster Goose’s incorrigible students is Peter, a boy who likes to cheat. Here’s a little info on him:

Peter, Peter was a cheater.
Stolen grades
Could not be sweeter.

Made good marks for weeks and weeks—
Forging essays,
Sneaking peeks.

There are also other children with bad habits and behaviors that need to be addressed. Mary likes to fib a lot. Wee Willie Winkie is a perpetual tattletale. Dirty Polly Flinders has terrible personal hygiene and smells. Little Miss Muffet is into eating colored chalk. Little Bobby Shaftoe steals treats from the teacher’s lounge. And every learning institution has to have a bully, right? Well, Spinster Goose takes care of Georgie Porgie who enjoys picking on his youngest and weakest schoolmates.

Georgie Porgie
puddin’ and pie.
Pushed first graders,
made them cry.
Poked preschoolers,
took their ball.
Picked on people weak and small.
When the Spinster came outside,
Georgie Porgie ran to hide.

The tough schoolmarm sees to it the Georgie stays away when the little tots come out to play.

These darkly funny verses that are riffs on familiar rhymes are sure to tickle the funnybones of young childen. Sophie Blackall’s muted ink and watercolor illustration are delicate and spare. They add just the right touches of wry humor to this collection of parodies about pupils who aren’t on their best behavior.

Rat Chat Reviews Spinster Goose


Here are some of my own fractured nursery rhymes.


Jack and June went to the moon,
Crash-landed in a crater.
Jack broke his nose and seven toes.
(He’s a crummy navigator!)

Jack cried in pain. June tried in vain
To soothe her injured mate.
She bound his toes and kissed his nose
And asked him for a date.

Jack and June began to swoon…
Fell mad in love and they
Returned to Earth, their place of birth…
And wed the very next day.


Mary had a little moon.
It shone just like a star.
And everywhere that Mary went
She brought it in a jar.

She sneaked it into class one day,
Which was against the rule—
But teacher smiled because it was
The brightest thing in school.


Humpty Dumpty sat on a star.
Humpty Dumpty started to char.
All of the astronauts raced to his side…
But when they reached him
Poor Humpty was fried!


Little Jack Quasar
Sat with a laser
Cutting his cosmic pie.

He stuck in his spoon
And scooped out a moon
And said, “It is full…so am I!”


This little piggy went to Saturn.
This little piggy went to Mars.
This little piggy zoomed his rocket ship
Around a zillion stars.
But THIS little piggy read comic books
At home
And smoked cigars.


Mary had a lotta luck
At Shoot the Wad Casino.
She worked the slots and rolled the dice
And won ten games of keno.

When Mary cashed in all her chips,
She gotta lotta dough.
Now every fella in our town
Sure wants to be her beau!


Crinkle, crinkle, my old face…
It’s got wrinkles every place.
It’s got crow’s feet; it’s got creases.
The aging process never ceases.

Saggy, baggy, flaccid skin—
I’ve got a droopy double chin.
I need a facelift, botox, too…
Then I’ll look as young as you!