In addition to being a time for celebrating poetry, April is also National Humor Month. So, share a new humorous poetry collection, I Must Go Down to the Beach Again and Other Poems by Karen Jo Shapiro (illustrated by Judy Love and published by Charlesbridge, 2007.) Shapiro cleverly parodies 23 classic poems by the likes of Shakespeare, Blake, Tennyson, Poe, and others. She also includes information about the original poems and poets in the author notes at the back of the book. For one fun sample, consider this parody of Kipling’s famous “If” (p. 39):
If you can’t wait to pick a book right now
And read it through until the very end
To find out who did what, and why, and how,
Then—lucky you!-- you’re a READER, my friend!
What a great resource for middle school, in particular, where we generally introduce the original classics. These parodies may help provide a fun “back door” approach to the originals.
In addition, the publisher is currently sponsoring a poetry writing contest for kids in grades 4 – 6 in conjunction with the publication of this book. The deadline for submissions is April 30. Check it out!