Welcome to Poetry Friday!

When I began my blog a few years back, I had big plans of studying and reviewing poetry books that would hopefully inspire my own writing. Somehow that never happened. I think I felt unqualified to share my opinions with the world. But today I’m putting a tiny toe in the water and reviewing a new favorite.

Laura Purdie Salas’ new book, If You Were the Moon,  is a charmer. The book opens with a conversation between a young girl and the moon, with the moon explaining all that the child would do if she had her wish to be the moon.  The whimsical list begins with the moon engaged in activities familiar to a youngster: Hovering near her mother, spinning like a twilight ballerina, and teasing the Earth with peek-a-boo. Each spread includes a brief description that highlights the science behind the moon’s activities: the origin of the moon, its rotation around Earth, and why the moon appears to wax and wane. As the story progresses, the moon’s actions become more magical: lighting a pathway to the sea, weaving a spell over wonderers, and whispering wisdom from the sky. The nonfiction descriptions also move to less familiar and equally magical facts about the moon: leading sea turtles, inspiring artists, and guiding farmers. I can imagine a young child pretending to be the moon and acting out the simple text. And an older child would devour the facts that are explained so clearly.

As a writer, I found this book a creative and imaginative way to explore science. So I decided to see what I could come up with using it as a model. My first step was to type out the simple text. That led me to see more clearly what the book encompasses, from understanding basic facts about the moon (how the moon formed, its gravitational pull, orbit, phases, lunar surface, light) to how the moon has inspired people through music, art, poetry, human exploration, and a guide for agriculture. Wow! What topic could I choose that might have such a wide range of possibilities? I made a list and decided to try to write an “If You Were a Book” story. That’s not a usual topic for me (what, no creepy crawlies!?) But maybe that’s the beauty of using another story as a model–it got me to think farther afield. Here’s the opening of a draft:

“Another book! Another book!” said Emma.

But Mama said, “Goodnight.”

Emma looked longingly at the books on her shelf.  “I wish I could slip between your covers and sleep inside your pages. I wish I was a book!”

Emma’s books straightened their spines. They opened their hearts and whispered their secrets….

If you were a book, you would…

Play with kites and kittens.

Climb the tallest tree.

Walk in someone else’s shoes.

Swim with sharks and polliwogs.

Sail on a pirate ship.

Shine on a rainy day…

Although this was a fun exercise, I wasn’t really satisfied with this draft. Maybe it doesn’t have the cohesiveness of a more focused topic like the moon. I’m now playing with another draft with a rhyming opening and closing–we’ll see where it leads. But in any case, I found that thinking about a story as a reviewer led me to also think about it as a writer. It’s something I plan to do again!

Wishing you a Happy June, and a Happy Poetry Friday! Mr. Linky and I are glad to be your hosts today. Please leave your links below.

32 thoughts on “Welcome to Poetry Friday!

  1. Donna Smith

    Thanks for hosting Friday. I’m late getting around more… my second of third attempt at visits.
    Love what you did with Laura’s mentor text, even without the critters~

    Reply
  2. Kathryn Apel

    I love what you did with this, Buffy. It might not be the end product that you want – but it’s a lovely step in the process. I’m sure Laura is chuffed to inspire it.

    My post today isn’t strictly poetry – Though there is a question about rhyming picture books! 😛 – but I linked it, because I thought it might be of interest to some, just the same. It’s my notes from the Illustration, and Picture Book panels at the recent KidLit conference, with many of Australia’s publishers in attendance and on the various panels.

    Thanks for hosting. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Michelle Kogan

    I love the opening lines to your story/poem “Another Book.” I have a story I’m just about ready to send out, and in a section of it the books become animated–so I connected with this passage, “Emma’s books straightened their spines. They opened their hearts and whispered their secrets….” Thanks for your in-depth review of Laura’s book, it sounds very intriguing. Thanks too for hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup. Hope you enjoy the summer and all the critters along with it!

    Reply
  4. Kay Jernigan McGriff

    Thanks for hosting today, Buffy! I love your approach in reviewing this book–not only do you portray the book and your reaction, but you lead us to use it (and other books) as mentors in our own writing by showing us the way! I still want to read this book and try some for myself.

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  5. Carol Varsalona

    Buffy, thank you for being PF’s host this week and showcasing Laura’s book, one of my favorites that is now gracing the budding library of my soon-to-arrive granddaughter (my first grandchild). I can see me sitting with her reading it. Now I think I should also read the beginning of your magical story to her also. These lines resonate with me: “Emma’s books straightened their spines. They opened their hearts and whispered their secrets….”

    Reply
  6. Diane Mayr

    It’s amazing how much you can absorb just by typing out a mentor text. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Have a great weekend–hope you get out there to photograph some more creepy crawlies–I love your photos.

    Reply
  7. Irene Latham

    Dear Buffy, I’ll admit, it’s strange to read something of yours that is not creepy-crawly! BUT. I love that Laura’s gorgeous book took you someplace new in your writing. You contain multitudes… Thank you for hosting! xo

    Reply
  8. Tricia

    Buffy, thanks for hosting this shindig. Thank you too for the review and for sharing a nice idea for using Laura’s book as a mentor text. I may try this! Happy day to you.

    Reply
  9. jama

    Enjoyed your review, Buffy, and seeing how you used the book as a mentor text. I’ve heard good things about Laura’s book and it definitely sounds charming. 🙂

    Thanks for hosting this week. Have a nice weekend!

    Reply
  10. Christie Wyman

    I am excited to share Laura’s book with my Kindergarteners. What a wonderful “point of view” mentor text! Thanks for hosting, Buffy, and happy poetry Friday!

    Reply
  11. Laura Purdie Salas

    Wow! I’m honored that If You Were the Moon inspired you as a mentor text, Buffy–thank you so much for sharing it here! I love those books straightening their spines and also climbing trees (I read in trees/treehouses a lot as a kid).

    I’ve used mentor texts a lot–mostly in nonfiction and in more general ways. But I have been studying plot for fiction pbs lately and did a kind of line-by-line version following a mentor text just to work on plot and pacing. I blogged about it here: https://mentorsforrent.wordpress.com/2017/05/02/using-a-mentor-text-to-figure-out-picture-book-plotting/

    Just thought you might find it interesting. Thanks again, and enjoy playing with this lovely poetry form. And I ADORE Elaine’s Things to Do book. Isn’t it just gorgeous?!

    Reply
  12. Heidi Mordhorst

    Good morning, Buffy, and thanks for hosting! What a fun book–I ordered it right away because 2nd grade studies the moon forever in our district–and I also have enjoyed attempting to recreate from a model I love. I’m pretty sure you’ll find a topic that works better than books, although it’s clear why we might start there! I wonder what would happen if you chose a creepy crawly–like a worm?

    Reply
  13. Linda Mitchell

    Good Morning and thank you for hosting Poetry Friday this week. I too am charmed by ‘If You Were the Moon’. I’ve now become quite an addict of Laura’s 15 Words or Less poem prompts on Thursdays (see her blog). Isn’t it funny how you have this idea in your head….and on a screen or on paper it’s just not IT? I remember having that feeling as a kid and I STILL have it when writing. But, it’s the working through and keeping at each word that has become what I love.

    I have no doubt that your text inspired by Laura’s book will turn into what you envision it to be. Enjoy the process of discovering each new word that makes it so!

    Reply
  14. Molly Hogan

    What a great review! I can’t wait to get my hands on Laura’s book. Reading your review made me realize her book would be a great addition to our Sun, Moon and Stars unit in the fall and then a great mentor text when we write poetry in the spring. I was also motivated by a mentor text today–Elaine Magliero’s Things To Do. After a few weeks of not participating, it feels wonderful to be dipping back into these poetic waters. Thanks for hosting!

    Reply
  15. Alan j Wright

    Thank you for hosting Buffy. Your review is both comprehensive and insightful. Our initial drafts often arrive with a few rough edges and raw words. In time we work to polish them into a more pleasing form. I urge you to persist in your poetic quest with this piece. We will all be richer as a result of your continued endeavours.

    Reply
  16. Pingback: Poetry Friday: Celebrating my 401st post with a Kirkus STAR! – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

  17. Kiesha Shepard

    Hooray! Dipping your toes in the water is definitely a great first move. I love how you decided to take a risk and explore using such a wondrous mentor text. Thanks for the inspiration, Buffy!

    Reply
  18. Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

    This is a beautiful review, Buffy (pshaw about not being “qualified”) and so interesting to see how you applied it as a writing exercise. I especially loved this line: “Emma’s books straightened their spines. They opened their hearts and whispered their secrets….” Thanks for opening your “blog home” and hosting Poetry Friday today!

    Reply
  19. Linda

    Buffy, I also love Laura’s book. Thank you for sharing your process. I think you did a fantastic job with your draft. I did something similar with a different rhyming PB. I’m trying to use the same structure to write my story, but I’m finding that it’s a lot harder than it looks! Good luck as you move forward with this project. Thanks for hosting!

    Reply
  20. Linda Baie

    I love Laura’s book, and all her others, too, and that you copied the idea to use for “If I Were A Book” is clever, can travel so many ways. Thanks for sharing your ideas, Buffy, inspiring! And thanks for hosting, too!

    Reply
  21. April Halprin Wayland

    Buffy! Thank you for hosting today. Laura’s book sounds terrific…and it also sounds like she used both sides of her brain working on it–a challenge!

    Your imitation is a wonderful exercise. I’m thinking a more original topic may be more satisfying to fiddle with?

    We at TeachingAuthors are doing a round robin about Creating Characters. It’s my turn and I offer 3 terrific quotes on creating flawed character and a (flawed) poem 🙂
    http://www.teachingauthors.com/2017/06/3-terrific-quotes-on-character-flaws.htm

    (My post goes live Friday morning)

    Reply

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