Monday, August 22, 2011

A Dazzling Display of Dogs

Two students created projects for Betsy Franco's clever book of shape poetry, A Dazzling Display of Dogs, a wonderful companion book to A Curious Collection of Cats. Leslie Wilson created a digital trailer and Angela Giono developed a readers' guide. Here they are.

Here is a link to Leslie's clever trailer:

Here is Angela Giono's helpful readers guide:

Franco, Betsy. 2011. A Dazzling Display of Dogs. Ill. by Michael Wertz. New York: Random House. ISBN: 978-1-58246-343-8

Recommended Age Levels 9-12

This book is a colorfully illustrated collection of thirty-four witty poems including a haiku about dogs and their antics. It includes such poems as: Lottie on a walk, a garbage eating pooch, a bubble catching dog named Petunia, a dog from the pound, Houdini the escape artist, and a dog peeing on the morning paper. These poems are told through the dog’s perspective. Such as in Circling Poem 2 Coco Circling on the Rug the words are in the form of a circle so the reader can experience what Coco does trying to get comfortable on a rug.

“Starred Review. Grade 1–5—This follow-up to A Curious Collection of Cats (Tricycle, 2009) is dazzling indeed. Each of the 34 poems features a different animal, most of them engaged in true dog behavior. From farting in the car to wheezing and snoring while sleeping, these pups are funny and lovable even when they're being annoying. The verses and the book's design are beautifully matched. In "Emmett's Ode to His Tennis Ball," the text is enclosed in a circle held firmly in the dog's mouth. It begins, "Slobbery, sloppy, slimy, sphere—oh, tennis ball, I hold you dear…." Like the poems, the pictures are funny and dynamic. The pages are definitely full, yet careful use of color, typeface, and detail means they never look chaotic. A note says the pictures were started in pencil and then finished using monoprints and Adobe Photoshop. Overall, a delight for kids, their adults, and maybe even their beloved canine companions.—Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL 
(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.” -SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

“The creators of A Curious Collection of Cats (2009) offer another volume of concrete poems filled with playful action. Elementary students will pick up the wry wordplay, but younger children will have trouble deciphering the words amid the packed, digitally touched artwork. The poems do capture familiar scenes with pets, such as a dog playing with a tennis ball (“sloppery slippery slimy”) and the pitfalls of car trips with a pooch: “The very worst part / without a doubt / is when Cassandra / makes a fart.” Both silly and on-target, the slapstick rhymes are good choices for family sharing. Grades K-3. --Hazel Rochman.”-BOOKLIST

• 2011 Green Earth Book Award Winner
• 2011 Indie Kids’ Next List
• Printz Honor Title
• Edgar Award Nominee

Invite students to discuss the following questions prior to reading A Dazzling Display of Dogs:
• Show the cover of the book ask, what do think of or what pictures come to your brain when you hear dazzling display? Once, answers are shared discuss how the illustrations on the cover either prove or disprove students’ predictions.
• Have you ever heard of poetry? What poets or poems have you heard? Have you created your own poetry?
• Prior to reading give students an example of a Haiku poem. Do you see a pattern in the poem? If so what is it? This pattern of poem has a name does anyone know what it is? Does anyone know the origin of the Haiku?
• Imagine what life is like for a dog. What do you think dogs like about being a canine? What do they dislike? Would you want to be a dog?
• If you were a dog what dazzling display would you write your poem about?
• Share a story about a dog past or present. What made that dog special or unique?

• “Saltwater Mutt”- Invite students to participate in the chorus. You read the words or letters on the dog and they read “romping in the waves.”
• “Tonka at Dog School,” Students to volunteer for a line-around. Each student will say a dog’s line. Be sure everyone gets a turn to shine.
• “Circling Poem 1&2,” Have children act out the poem. One person is the reader the other is the dog. Be sure to take turn.
• “Letting Gwen in and Out,” Divide the class into groups. Read the poem in a back and forth way. There is various combinations to reading this poem so experiment.
• “Pug Appeal,” Read the students first and then have them repeat with you in unison.
• “Tigger On His Back,” Perform in two voices-Suggested by the author

• Develop a singing poem from one of the thirty-four given. Perform in music as well as library classes for Don’t Step in the Dog Poop Day-April 25th, International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day-February 23, National Dog Day-August 26th, or Adopt-a-dog Month-October.

• Students write a poem review of one of the poems in the book. This is strictly opinion, thus it may include positives and negatives. They may also discuss the illustrations. Post on the library website.
• Students will participate in A Dazzling Display of Dogs illustrated poem contest. Display the participant’s work at parent-teacher conferences.
• In this poetry collection, Mimsey Lou is missing. What types of things have you lost? Discuss what information a lost or missing, poster needs to include. For a fun activity have students make a poster for something or someone lost.

• Students research report for one of the dogs from Crazy Combo. Students choose a combo-dog or the original breed. Include: personality, feeding, grooming, care, characteristics, and history of the breed.

• Have poetry Friday and share poems from A Dazzling Display of Dogs as well as other poetry.
• Have students volunteer to participate in R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs). READ provides dog reading companion for children. The statistics and implementation specifics for this successful program are provided on the website.

• After reading the poem Bubbles, discuss how a sphere is the smallest area for its volume of any solid shape. Bubbles try to make the smallest surface. Students can make some basic geometric bubble shapes. The site includes a recipe for bubbles and activity ideas such as making cubical bubbles.

Social Studies
• Read Found at the Pound, discuss ASPCA information that are applicable. Such as the statistic 5 to 7 million animals enter shelters per year. Invite the local animal shelter to visit for show and tell.

• In this poetry collection Miss Olive has a teddy bear. Read Miss Olive’s Teddy Bear. September 9th is Teddy Bear Day. Read the article by the Workshop Rail Museum about the history of the teddy bear.
For fun, do some of the games and or activities in the Teddy Bear Day website.

Becky’s Blog Spot
(Her blog gives various book reviews by an avid reader and is updated on a regular basis).

Poetry for Children
(This blog includes connections for the poem and the opportunity to view other poets work).

(This is a live performance of songs based on the book).

Betsy Franco Website
(This site gives future book, events, links, and blogging).

Poetry Foundation
(Useful website that includes poetry, poets, poetry magazine and tour, as well as resources for children’s poetry)

Poetry Books
Franco, Betsy, 2009. A Curious Collection of Cats. Ill. by Michael Wertz, Tricycle Press.
Crawley, Dave, 2007. Dog Poem. Ill. by Tamara Petrosino, Woodsong.
Hempel, Amy (editor), 1999. Unleashed: Poems by Writers’ Dogs. Three Rivers’ Press.

Related Fiction and Nonfiction

Wordless Book
• Day, Alexandra, 1989. Carl Goes Shopping. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Easy Reader Picture Book
Clifford the Big Red Dog
• Bridwell, Norman, reprint 2010. Clifford the Big Red Dog. Cartwheel Books.
Fiction-- Age 9-12
• Martin, Ann M., 2007. A Dog’s Life: An Autobiography of A Stray. Scholastic.
• Wallace, Bill, 2005. No Dogs Allowed! Aladdin Books.
Fiction-- Young Adult
• Morey, Walt, 1997. Kavik the Wolf Dog. Puffin.
• Pearce, Jacqueline, 2005. Dog House Blues. Orca Book Publishers.
• Osborne, Mary Pope, 2011. Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #24: Dog Heroes: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #46: Dogs in the Dead of Night. Random House Books for Young Readers.
• Kehret, Peg, 1999. Shelter Dogs: Amazing Stories of Adopted Strays. Albert Whitman and Co.

Betsy Franco is the author of over 80 books for both children and young adults. She has received numerous awards and recognition for her work.

Micheal Wertz’s work has been celebrated by Communication Arts, American illustrators. He has a “dog blog.” That contains 100 dogs in 100 days. Visit

Used with permission from Angela Giono and Leslie Wilson.

1 comment:

laurasalas said...

Fantastic trailer! Can't wait to read this latest from Betsy.