Monday, April 25, 2011

HURRICANE DANCERS by Margarita Engle

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

Today’s tagline: A novel in verse about coping with cultural differences

Guest Reviewer: Debra Lindenburg-Morrow

Featured Book: Engle, Margarita. 2011. Hurricane dancers: The first Caribbean pirate shipwreck. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN: 9780805092400.

Debra writes: Margarita Engle wrote a very high quality tale about a Spanish pirate named Bernardo de Talavera, his slave named Quebrado and a hostage named Alonso de Ojeda. All three were left to swim for shore when a hurricane destroyed their ship. The slave, Quebrado, was a very smart young man who spoke two languages (Taino and Spanish) and this knowledge ultimately helped to save his life when he found a Ciboney Indian tribe on this new-found island. The pirate, Bernardo de Talavera, and his hostage, Alonso de Ojeda, were not so fortunate because they did not speak nor understand the language of the island natives.

Ultimately, Quebrado decides the fate of these two men by warning the island natives about the dangers these two men pose. Quebrado befriends a Ciboney fisherman named Narido and is captivated by the beauty of a young Ciboney woman named Caucubu. The story takes some twists and turns that will keep the reader engaged.

Engle did a good presentation of poetic free verse for each of her characters and the reader will be able to recognize the tone and rhythm of each character while reading their verses. An interesting aspect of the story is the historical setting which is sure to attract history enthusiasts of any age. Great book and compelling story that should be in every library’s collection!



The hurricane

falls silent.

We step out of the cave,

and find masses

of writhing sea things

that look like snakes,

moons, flowers

and stars....

The Woman of the Wind

taught all these creatures

how to fly.

What will the hurricane

teach me?

This is a great poem to introduce children to the power of mother nature and how one can turn a weather event into poetic form. I would ask children to journal about a weather event they experienced or viewed on television and write a short poetic verse reflecting the power of such an event.

Tomorrow’s tagline: More poems with a Spanish connection

[We’re heading down the homestretch of National Poetry Month—still time to get your copy of the e-book, PoetryTagTime, an e-book with 30 poems, all connected, by 30 poets, downloadable at Amazon for your Kindle or Kindle app for your computer, iPad or phone for only 99 cents. Grab it now.]

Image credit: PoetryTagTime; Macmillan

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

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