Wednesday, April 06, 2011

DIZZY DINOSAURS by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Poetry Tag continues with a book review of a new book of poetry connected to yesterday's book review.

Today’s tagline: More poems about more animals

Guest Reviewer: Heather Garavaglia

Featured Book: Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Dizzy Dinosaurs – Silly Dino Poems. Barry Gott. New York: HarperCollins, 2011. ISBN 978-0-06-135841-8.

Heather writes: Dizzy Dinosaurs is a collection of 19 poems all about dinosaurs. It is part of the I Can Read Book series. According to the book, it is a Level 2 reader. This means that a young child should be able to read it with some help (first/second grade). For most of the poems, Level 2 is an accurate representation. 

The collection of poems begins with a table of contents listing the names of the poems and their authors. While many of the names may not be familiar to the readers, there are some familiar authors listed as well. After the table of contents, there is a pronunciation guide. Most books have the pronunciation guide at the end of the book, but because this is a beginning reader, it is important that they have listed the guide in the beginning of the book. This gives the reader, and the adult reading with them, time to practice the dinosaur names before reading them in the poem. Being able to practice the names of the dinosaurs will help with the flow of the poem when it is being read. 

Each poem is written in a different way. Some poems are written in rhyming couplets, others are written in stanzas where every other word rhymes. There are poems that combine the two, and there are some in which only a few words in the poem rhyme. While not all poetry involves rhyming, having poems that rhyme is essential in this book. Since it is in the I Can Read Book series, having the pattern and rhythm of the words make it easier for the young reader. 

Most of the poems in this collection have a pattern or rhythm, making it a good Level 2 book. When there is a flow or rhythm to what is being read, it is usually easier to read. “Dino School Bus” and “Picky Eater” are two examples of poems that could be easily read because of their rhyming pattern. However, there are a few poems that beginning readers might struggle with. The poems that repeat the dinosaur’s name could be difficult unless the child is very familiar with the pronunciation of it. Having to read the name of the dinosaur over and over may slow down the reader’s rhythm. A few poems have one-word lines. While those words are placed there purposely, they may confuse the beginning reader. 

If this book is going to be read out loud or if older readers are reading it, Dizzy Dinosaurs is a great choice. These poems take everyday occurrences such as riding a bus, lunch, and recess, and place dinosaurs as the main characters. The words that are used create visual images that will have the readers laughing out loud. Poems such as “Bathtime” and “Pterodactyl Pilot” use similes to help create those pictures. Combined with the illustrations, students are able to get a clear picture of what the poem depicts. Each illustration uses vibrant colors and accurately portrays the action in the poem. 
Even though this collection of poems is geared toward beginning readers, the poems are for all ages. Some poems have a other meanings than the beginning readers might catch. The last poem in the collection, “Dinosaur History,” is an example of this.

Dinosaur History
By Kristy Dempsy

When dinosaurs were little tikes,
they rode their tiny dino bikes
without a helmet down the street
standing up atop the seat.
They played in dino swimming pools
but never followed water rules.
They would not go to bed on time
Or take a bath to wash off grime.
They always disobeyed their mothers,
rudely crossed their eyes at others.
In the end, their luck went bust…
those carefree dinos

The illustration for this poem has dinosaurs falling off a cliff on their bikes, but adults will laugh knowing that term, “bit the dust,” means "became instinct." 

Read the poem to the class without showing the illustrations. Have students either illustrate the poem or discuss the meaning of the poem. The answers should vary by ages of students.

Tomorrow’s tagline: More poems about all kinds of animals

[And don’t forget to get your own copy of PoetryTagTime, an e-book with 30 poems, all connected, by 30 poets, and downloadable right now at Amazon for your Kindle or Kindle app for your computer, iPad or phone. Just 99 cents. Spread the word.]

Image credit: HarperCollins; PoetryTagTime

Posting (not poem) by Sylvia M. Vardell and students © 2011. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

Michele Krueger said...

For those of you interested in what happened to my Pterodactyl Pilot after his dizzy spell:

I 'm a high flying tornado
who has spiraled out of hand.
For your safety
please take cover,
I am about to l