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A Stick Is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play Hardcover – February 28, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

“Everything’s a blast / When you do it really fast.” From playing jacks or hopscotch on the city sidewalk to jumping rope (“It’s the slap / slap / slap / of two jump ropes when they touch”), the sounds of the rhyming words are part of the fun in this picture-book poetry collection, and the broad, colorful, digitally colored spreads show kids in uproarious motion together, barreling down a hill and hanging upside down on the swings, and also absorbed in imaginative play, from hide-and-seek in the jungle to making the title’s discovery that a stick has multiple possibilities for games. Even the youngest children will recognize the hands-on enjoyment of “making soup” with mud, grass, stones, and more. After all the wild activity, the book’s climax is quiet: stargazing with Dad from a window before sleep. Fun for sharing and acting out many times over, at home and in playgroups. Preschool-Grade 1. --Hazel Rochman

Review

"A real strength of the collection is its engagement of the imagination. . . . A thrilling integration of verse and image, motivating all to serious fun." --Kirkus , starred review

 

"From running through sprinklers to blowing bubbles to catching fireflies, this book has 18 short poems about active, imaginative play in summer weather. . . . An appealing book." --School Library Journal

 

"Fun for sharing and acting out many times over." --Booklist

 

"This could be effective in an April unit celebrating both spring and National Poetry Month, and it could also give kids some much needed memories of warmth and sunshine during the winter--or even provide them with the impetus to get off the couch and get outside." --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Singer captures the inherent exultations of being young and carefree in the outdoors. . . .Well worth the exercise." --Kirkus Online

"Pham's grainy mixed-media scenes could take place anytime in the past 50 years, emphasizing the timeless (some might say lost) art of outdoor activity."--Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547124937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547124933
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 8.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #650,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marilyn Singer was born in the Bronx (New York City) on October 3, 1948 and lived most of her early life in N. Massapequa (Long Island), NY. She attended Queens College, City University of New York, and for her junior year, Reading University, England. She holds a B.A. in English from Queens and an M.A. in Communications from New York University.

In 1974, after teaching English in New York City high schools for several years, she began to write - initially film notes, catalogues, teacher's guides, and film strips. Then, one day, when she was sitting in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, she penned a story featuring talking insect characters she'd made up when she was eight. Encouraged by the responses she got, she wrote more stories, and in 1976, her first book, The Dog Who Insisted He Wasn't, was published by E.P.Dutton & Co.

Since then, Marilyn has published over eighty books for children and young adults. Her genres are many and varied, including realistic novels, fantasies, non-fiction, fairy tales, picture books, mysteries and poetry. She likes writing many different kinds of books because it's challenging and it keeps her from getting bored.

Marilyn currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband Steve; their standard poodle Oggi, seen in the home page photo; a cat named August ; two collared doves named Jubilee and Holiday; and a starling that says, "Hi. How are you? Sweet Birdie. Okay!" Her interests include ballroom/Latin dancing, dog training, reading, hiking, bird-watching, gardening, playing computer adventure games, and going to the movies and the theatre. She's also a major Star Trek fan.

Marilyn is the former host of the AOL Children's Writers Chat and currently co-hosts the Poetry Blast at various conferences. Visit her web site: www.marilynsinger.net.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Books for Life on June 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We were really excited aobut this book as it was written up everywhere. It seemed perfect, poems about the outdoors including sticks, every boy's favorite object. The poems, however are rather lackluster to down right boring. Not vey well written at all. They don't capture our son's interest in the least. Mommy and Daddy have resorted to making up poems on the fly about the pictures in the book. It is beginning to be a problem as he is remembering parts of the poems and we can't repeat them word for word as they aren't written in the book.

I would suggest looking elsewhere for children's poetry.
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By dave on October 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book. Wife loved it. Very outdoorsy and fun to read. Would recommend to anyone who asks. Baby liked it too.
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Format: Hardcover
Fun poems about all different kinds of playing outside. A great collection to choose a pre-recess selection from. Jump! is one of my favorites.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
If the helicopter parents don't smother `em then the death of recess by test-minded schools will. Kids today have a heck of a time playing like they used to. Excuse me while I pull out my Crusty Old Fogey Hat which allows me to lament an era where kids gets their afternoons booked up and their free time minimized. I freely acknowledge that this is hardly a universal problem, but it does exist in some places. There are kids out there who would give anything just to run down their block without having to check in with their parents every five minutes. To them, I hand "A Stick is an Excellent Thing". A small picture book of poetry, Marilyn Singer taps into a kid's desire to be a kid (as well as an adult's sense of nostalgia, if I'm going to be honest here) to create a little world of fun. She is aided in her scheme by the multi-talented illustrator LeUyen Pham who not only brings this world to life but peoples it with kind, energetic, recognizable faces. The result is a book the celebrates games, playing, the great outdoors (no matter where you might be), and, in a roundabout manner, friends.

In spite of its "A Hole Is to Dig" type title, the book is more about the worlds kids create when they get together. In eighteen poems we see eighteen different ways to play. From mud soup to collecting fireflies, from swinging to plain old everyday sticks, these poems take a great thrill in showing kids at their best. Which is to say, having fun. Accompanying each poem are illustrations by LeUyen Pham. Where Singer creates the framework, Pham creates the world. Her kids exist in that bubble where adults are on the periphery, present when you need them, invisible when you don't.
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