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BookSpeak!: Poems About Books Hardcover – October 25, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Bright, mixed-media collage scenes illustrate this picture-book poetry collection that plays with literary allusions. In “Cliffhanger,” a desperate dog clinging to a cliff above a shark-filled ocean implores, “Please, author, write / a sequel fast!” In another selection, a character pleads for his life: “Don’t close the cover and don’t walk away / Don’t leave me squished in here day after day.” On one spread, the index brags: “I’m telling you, kid: ignore the rest of the book. / All you really need is me.” Plot has a voice in another poem: “My characters / hate me. They don’t think I’m grand. / But without me / their plots / would be dreary / and bland.” And in a poem for three voices, Beginning and Ending try to comfort Middle and show him he matters, and then the three vie for importance. With its mix of poetic forms and wry twists on language-arts terms, this is a natural choice for sharing in classrooms and young writers’ workshops. Grades 2-5. --Hazel Rochman

Review

"Well crafted and clever, covering a variety of aspects of books and reading...An appealing offering that will be especially popular with librarians."--School Library Journal
 
"There's definite readaloud and performance potential here."--Bulletin
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 540 (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780547223001
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547223001
  • ASIN: 0547223005
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 11 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Deb HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This marvelously vibrant book swirls with poems about books. Have you ever read one about an index? Perhaps you've rushed down the aisles of a bookstore to see what kind of a party you can have in the book stacks. You'll read poems about a cliffhanger, magical characters, perfect books, greasy books, people who create the books, and even the book cover. The poems simply beg to be read aloud and discussed in story or circle time. One of my secretive favorites is the acrostic poem, "Top Secret."

Top Secret

Describe your desires and they become mine.
I'm a treasure box where feelings can shine.
All thinkers need pages where dreams can take flight.
Reveal all
Your secrets, one entry per night.

In an acrostic, the first letter of each line in this poem reveals that the top secret book is a D-I-A-R-Y. Children will not only learn about books, but also can learn about the different kinds of poetry. The poems are whimsical, charming, instructional, and just plain old fun. The delightful mixed media artwork swirls through the book as it meshes perfectly with each poem. This is a book about poems with poems about books ... how good can that get? This is one book that definitely should be added to your shelves!
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Format: Hardcover
Laura Purdie Salas's BOOKSPEAK is a celebration of all things book. From how the letters look on the page to how a book feels being checked out of the library to elements like plot - even the index! - there is much to enjoy. My favorite lines are from a poem titled "Skywriting":

Line after line of inky black birds
Forming the flocks that shift into words. ...

BOOKSPEAK will give young readers new insights into a familiar object, and perhaps inspire them to come up with their own poems, too. Josée Bisaillon's illustrations are varied and lively.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Other writers have written memorable poems about books and about reading, but Laura's Bookspeak is full of poems in books' own voices. And, just as there are so many kinds of books, there are different kinds of bookish voices, like the first poem, obviously from one of those books that make one smile all the way through. The poem, Calling All Readers, has lilting lines like I'll tell you a story./I'll spin you a rhyme./I'll spill some ideas--/and we'll travel through time. Another poem, titled Top Secret, is a whisper of intrigue, starting with Describe your desires and they become mine. And quite a prickly, rather outraged voice is titled Index. It's filled with the right stuff about indexes, showing how many marvelous things one can learn if the index is NOT ignored. It starts with P s s s t! Hey, kid--yeah, you./So you want some facts, huh?
Each page holds another bookish voice, introducing some aspect of one of our most favorite things--books! I just want to tell about each poem! There are books that tell certain uncomfortable things that happen to them, like when someone falls asleep on them, or the worst, when "wet" happens. There are those that speak of unhappiness, like being the book's middle, instead of first or last. Laura's words show well that she really has crawled INSIDE books in order to speak for them.

Illustrator Josée Bisaillon uses collage and drawings that add to Laura's words, connecting well the beauty and excitement that books can bring to the reader. The book recently won the award for Children's Literature from the Annual Minnesota Book Awards.
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Format: Hardcover
As anyone who knows me at all already knows, I am a lover of books. And I am a lover of poetry. And I am a teacher. What then, could be better, than a book that combines books, and poetry, and could also be used in a classroom?

BOOKSPEAK by Laura Purdie Salas is a book about reading. Some poems- Calling All Readers, The Sky is Falling, Hydrophobiac, Vacation Time, On the Shelf and Under the Bed captures the joys of reading, owning, and caring (or not caring) for books.

Several of the poems, I've Got This Covered, A Character Pleads for His Life, Picture This, I'm Conflicted, and The Middle's Lament: A Poem for Three Voices and The End will be terrific to use in the fiction unit I am currently completing with my fourth graders. And then there's Index to share when we are working on nonfiction. (Do anyone else's students have trouble remembering the difference between an index and a table of contents?). Several other poems- Paper Sky, Written in Snow, and Skywriting- simply create beautiful images around books and words:

The illustrations, by Canadian Josee Bisaillon, are a combination of paint (I think), cut paper, and collage, mostly done in shades of orange, blue, golds, greens. Hard to describe, but gorgeous!

The End is one of my favorites, because it so captures me as a reader:
THE END

You race,
toward me,
checking pages numbers
and calculating their distance.

You
sprint skip skim
to win
the reader's race
to cross me--

the book's finish line.

But then
you
smile, cry, sigh

flip to chapter one
and start again.

I am not so much
The End
as I am an
invitation back
to the beginning.

- Laura Purdie Salas
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