Friday, December 18, 2009


Another book from our holiday box is Winter Poems selected by Barbara Rogasky, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.

We enjoy the soundscapes found in many of the poems. At times we 'hear' the serene quiet of winter, for example, in Elinor Wylie's "Velvet Shoes."

"Let us walk in white snow
In a soundless space."

Or a single sound is heard set against a backdrop of stillness in Oliver Herford's "I Heard a Bird Sing." 

"I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing"

In other poems, winter chills us with sounds that make us glad we are inside. In Emily Dickinson's "An Awful Tempest" we feel safe to watch the world from the window:

"The creatures chuckled on the roofs
And whistled in the air,
And shook their fists, and gnashed their teeth,
And swung their frenzied hair."

While in "Cat on a Night of Snow" by Elizabeth Coatsworth, we can relate to the first narrator's wish to keep her cat indoors by the fire where the "flames are leaping and hissing low." But the Mistress cannot persuade her cat who has an instinct for the night regardless of how cold it is, for there are "things that are yet to be done."

"Outdoors, the wild winds blow, Mistress, and dark is the night,/ strange voices cry in the trees, intoning strange lore ... Open the door!" This cat is much like our Miss Mimi - an 'outdoor-cat-at-heart' kept, against her will, inside.

Our favourite poem in this collection is an excerpt from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Bells" for its celebration of sound. We love the two lines in which the word "bells" is repeated six times. And of course, "tintinnabulation" - what word describes the ringing of bells better than this? Just the first part of Poe's poem appears in Winter Poems. To read "The Bells" visit -

Poetry Friday is being hosted by Susan at

Friday, December 11, 2009

Poetry Friday: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Though I've been a Poetry Friday fan for a while now, this is my first post and I just loved the "welcome" - thank you, Diane.

Half of the fun of decorating our tree is opening up our holiday storage boxes. Tucked between the silver and gold ornaments and frosted balls are the beautiful picture books that we save for this season. Each year we choose a new picture book to add to our collection.

A few winters ago, my daughter was mesmerized by a reading and a film depiction of a Robert Frost poem presented on Reading Rainbow. By coincidence, she received a book gift shortly after. It was "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost, illustrated by Susan Jeffers. It is one of our favourite treasures in our winter collection. Jeffers' illustrations are gorgeous in mostly white, grey and black with just a hint of colour on each page. The soft images work beautifully with Frost's poem to create a feeling of hush and wonder.

One of our favourite lines from the poem is:
"The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake."
We just love that "and downy flake" gets a two page spread of giant snowflakes.

This book is a great way for a child to be introduced to the work of Robert Frost.

You can read the entire poem by clicking this link-
Dianne at Random Noodling is hosting Poetry Friday this week.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm a Little Snowflake

My poem "I'm a Little Snowflake" is in the current issue of Turtle Magazine for Preschool Kids. It's perfect timing as many parts of Canada and the United States are being hit with the first snowstorm of the season.

The adorable illustrations by Kathryn Mitter offer visual cues so that kids can follow along.

This action rhyme can be sung to the familiar tune "I'm a Little Teapot." If you're looking for something with a winter theme to get your preschool kids singing and moving, follow this link to the web version -