This blog is a continuation of a class assignment for the TWU course 5603, Literature for Children and Young Adults. Subsequent entries are for TWU course 5653, Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults. The new entries are for TWU course 5663, Poetry for Children and Young Adults.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Poetry 5663 Follow Follow

Follow Follow
A book of Reverso Poems
By Marilyn Singer

Cover image retrieved February 25, 2013 from

Singer, Marilyn, and Josée Masse. Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2013. ISBN 9780803737693

Critical Analysis
Beginning to end, end to beginning: Marilyn Singer’s latest book of “reverso” poetry is delightful, cunning fun. Hidden meanings, secret messages, and loaded imagery connect the reader to opposing sides of familiar folk tales and fairy tales. Accompanied by split-page full color illustrations, each short poem pair invites the reader to remain on the page just a bit longer to consider the words, clever arrangement, and fully loaded depictions of standard tales. A simple change in punctuation alters meanings here, giving the reader food for thought, as well as chuckles.

Inventive word choice and arrangement are the foundation to establishing contrasting meanings in these paired creations. Rhythm and tone change considerably as the lines of the first poem are reversed to form the second poem. Readers young and old will find connections to familiar fairy and folk tales, challenging long-held assumptions on the meaning of those tales. The prolific Ms. Singer sheds fresh light with creative word choice and thought-provoking viewpoints. This book would be a terrific addition to a collection at any level. Young readers will simply enjoy the fun poems and trickery of reversing the lines. Mid-level readers will begin to understand the subtle  variations in meaning created by word arrangement, and how words and phrases can have multiple meanings. High-level readers will savor interpreting deeper meanings and seeing firsthand the power of word choice. Follow Follow is a welcome addition to the worlds of poetry, folk and fairy tales, and creative writing inspiration.

Book Reviews
Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2013 (Vol. 81, No. 2))
A companion piece to the acclaimed Mirror, Mirror (2010), this offering presents more delightful "reverso" poems to treasure. Read alongside the traditional tales it plays off of or enjoyed on its own, this volume is one to savor.

Deborah Stevenson (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Feb. 2013 (Vol. 66, No. 6))
With Mirror, Mirror (BCCB 4/10), Singer introduced the cunning poetic “reverso,” a free-verse poem that creates a very different meaning when the order of the lines is reversed. This volume brings fourteen new poems, with an introduction and a valedictory bookending a dozen folktale-themed verses.

Poetry Break!
Spotlight Poem

Ready, Steady, Go!

That ridiculous loser!                                             Take me to the finish line!
I am not                                                            I’ve got rabbit feet to
a slowpoke.                                                        beat.
Though I may be                                                  I can’t be
the smallest bit distracted,                                     the smallest bit distracted.
I can’t be                                                          Though I may be
beat.                                                                a slowpoke,
I’ve got rabbit feet to                                           I am not
take me to the finish line!                                       that ridiculous loser!  

Learning Extensions
Introducing the poem:
·      For Middle School or older students, refresh their memory of The Tortoise and the Hare by viewing the short rendition of the Aesop’s Fable at
·      Who should the rightful winner of the race be? Students will debate this with the Talk a Mile a Minute cooperative learning strategy. Ask students to form a single line across the front of the room, with those who think it clearly should be the hare on the left side, those who think it clearly should be the tortoise on the right side, filling in the middle with those who favor one side slightly more than another. Then split the line in the middle, move half the line from the middle to form a second line that will be standing across from a classmate, each with opposing views on the subject. Students will have one minute each to try to convince the other that their view is correct.
·      Students will return to their seats. Share the reverso poem “Ready, Steady, Go!” orally, first presenting the hare’s story, then the tortoise’s.
·      Invite class discussion of the opposing views.
·      Display the poems for the class via document camera. Allow volunteer readers to alternate reading the poems as students follow along.
·      Now switch volunteer readers. With both poems still displayed, have the first reader read the first line of the hare’s poem, then the other reader read the first line of the tortoise’s poem. Continue this pattern, alternating readers/poems after each line.
·      Invite class discussion of the power of the words in the different order, with different punctuation and emphasis.

Other Books by Marilyn Singer
Marilyn Singer’s website

FOLLOW FOLLOW: A Book of Reverso Poems (Dial Books, 2013 , Illustrated by Josee Masse)
A STRANGE PLACE TO CALL HOME (Chronicle, 2012 , Illustrated by Ed Young)
THE SUPERHEROES EMPLOYMENT AGENCY (Clarion, 2012 , Illustrated by Noah Z. Jones)
TALLULAH’S SOLO (Clarion, 2012 , Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger)
THE BOY WHO CRIED ALIEN (Disney-Hyperion, 2012 , Illustrated by Brian Biggs)
A STICK IS AN EXCELLENT THING (Clarion , 2012 , Illustrated by LeUyen Pham)
EVERY DAY’S A DOG’S DAY (Dial , 2012 , Illustrated by Miki Sakamoto)
CATERPILLARS (EarlyLight Books, 2011 )
A FULL MOON IS RISING (Lee & Low, 2011 , Illustrated by Julia Cairns)
WHAT IS YOUR DOG DOING? (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, 2011 , Illustrated by Kathleen Habbley)
TALLULAH’S TUTU (Clarion, 2011 , Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger)
TWOSOMES: Love Poems from the Animal Kingdom (Alfred A. Knopf, 2011 , Illustrated by Lee Wildish)
MIRROR MIRROR: A Book of Reversible Verse (Dutton Children's Books, 2010 , Illustrated by Josee Masse)
I’M GETTING A CHECKUP (Clarion Books, 2009 , Illustrated by David Milgrim)
I’M YOUR BUS (Scholastic Books, 2009 , Illustrated by Evan Polenghi)
EGGS (Holiday House, 2008 , Illustrated by Emma Stevenson)
FIRST FOOD FIGHT THIS FALL and Other School Poems (Sterling, 2008 , Illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa)
SHOE BOP! (Dutton Children's Books, 2008 , Illustrated by Hiroe Nakata)
CITY LULLABY (Clarion Books, 2007 , Illustrated by Carll Cneut)
VENOM (Darby Creek Publishing, 2007 )
LET’S BUILD A CLUBHOUSE (Clarion Books, 2006 , Illustrated by Timothy Bush)
CATS TO THE RESCUE (Henry Holt & Co., 2006 , Illustrated by Jean Cassels)
WHAT STINKS? (Darby Creek Publishing, 2006 )
MAKE ME OVER: 11 Original Stories About Transforming Ourselves (Dutton Children's Books, 2005 )
MONDAY ON THE MISSISSIPPI (Henry Holt & Co., 2005 , Illustrated by Frane Lessac)
CENTRAL HEATING: Poems about Fire and Warmth (Alfred A. Knopf, 2005 , Illustrated by Meilo So)
FACE RELATIONS: Eleven Stories About Seeing Beyond Color (Simon & Schuster, 2004 )
BLOCK PARTY TODAY! (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004 , Illustrated by Stephanie Roth)
CREATURE CARNIVAL (Hyperion Books for Children , 2004 , Illustrated by Gris Grimly)
HOW TO CROSS A POND (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003 , Illustrated by Meilo So)
FIREFLIES AT MIDNIGHT (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2003 , Illustrated by Ken Robbins)
BOO HOO BOO-BOO (HarperCollins, Inc., 2002 , Illustrated by Elivia Savadier)
QUIET NIGHT (Clarion Books, 2002 , Illustrated by John Manders)
THE COMPANY OF CROWS (Clarion Books, 2002 , Illustrated by Linda Saport)
FOOTPRINTS ON THE ROOF: Poems About the Earth (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 2002 , Illustrated by Meilo So)
DIDI AND DADDY ON THE PROMENADE (Clarion Books, 2001 , Illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay)
FRED’S BED (HarperCollins, Inc., 2001 , Illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi)
MONSTER MUSEUM (Hyperion Books, 2001 , Illustrated by Gris Grimly)
TOUGH BEGINNINGS: How Baby Animals Survive (Henry Holt & Co., 2001 , Illustrated by Anna Vojtec)
A PAIR OF WINGS (Holiday House, 2001 , Illustrated by Anna Wertheim)
THE CIRCUS LUNICUS (Henry Holt & Co., 2000 )
I BELIEVE IN WATER: Twelve Brushes With Religion (HarperCollins, Inc., 2000 )
ON THE SAME DAY IN MARCH (HarperCollins, Inc., 2000 , Illustrated by Frane Lessac)
THE ONE AND ONLY ME (HarperCollins, Inc., 2000 , Illustrated by Elivia Savadier)
A DOG’S GOTTA DO WHAT A DOG’S GOTTA DO (Henry Holt & Co., 2000 )
JOSIE TO THE RESCUE (Scholastic, Inc., 1999 )
SOLOMON SNEEZES (HarperCollins, Inc., 1999 , Illustrated by Brian Floca)
STAY TRUE: Short Stories for Strong Girls (Scholastic, Inc., 1998 )
GOOD DAY, GOOD NIGHT (Marshall Cavendish, 1998 , Illustrated by Ponder Goembel)
PRAIRIE DOGS KISS AND LOBSTERS WAVE: How Animals Say Hello (Henry Holt & Co., 1998 , Illustrated by Normand Chartier)
DEAL WITH A GHOST (Henry Holt and Company, 1997 )
BOTTOMS UP! A Book About Rear Ends (Henry Holt & Co., 1997 , Illustrated by Patrick O'Brien)
ALL WE NEED TO SAY: Poems About School from Tanya and Sophie (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1996 , Illustrated by Lorna Clark)
THE MAIDEN ON THE MOOR (Morrow, 1995 , Illustrated by Troy Howell)
IN THE PALACE OF THE OCEAN KING (Atheneum, 1995 , Illustrated by Ted Rand)
THE MORGANS DREAM (Holt, 1995 , Illustrated by Gary Drake)
PLEASE DON’T SQUEEZE YOUR BOA, NOAH! (Holt, 1995 , Illustrated by Clement Oubrerie)
A WASP IS NOT A BEE (Henry Holt& Co., 1995 , Illustrated by Patrick O'Brien)
THE PAINTED FAN (Morrow, 1994 , Illustrated by Wenhai Ma)
FAMILY REUNION (Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1994 , Illustrated by R.W. Alley)
SKY WORDS (Simon & Schuster,, 1994 , Illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray)
BIG WHEEL (Hyperion, 1993 )
IT’S HARD TO READ A MAP WITH A BEAGLE ON YOUR LAP (Henry Holt & Co., 1993 , Illustrated by Clement Oubrerie)
CALIFORNIA DEMON (Hyperion, 1992 )
CHESTER, THE OUT OF WORK DOG (Henry Holt & Co., 1992 , Illustrated by Cat Bowman Smith)
IN MY TENT (Macmillan Publishing Company, 1992 , Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully)
THE GOLDEN HEART OF WINTER (Morrow, 1991 , Illustrated by Robert Rayevsky)
NINE O’CLOCK LULLABY (HarperCollins, Inc., 1991 , Illustrated by Frane Lessac)
EXOTIC BIRDS (Doubleday, 1991 , Illustrated by James Needham)
CHARMED (Atheneum, 1990 )
Sam and Dave Mysteries (HarperCollins, 1984-1989 )
STORM RISING (Scholastic Inc., 1989 )
THE HOAX ON YOU (HarperCollins, 1989 , Illustrated by Richard Williams)
THE CASE OF THE FIXED ELECTION (HarperCollins, 1989 , Illustrated by Richard Williams)
MINNIE’S YOM KIPPUR BIRTHDAY (Harper & Row, Publishers, 1989 , Illustrated by Ruth Rosner)
TURTLE IN JULY (Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1989 , Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney)
SEVERAL KINDS OF SILENCE (Harper & Row Publishers, 1988 )
THE LIGHTEY CLUB (Four Winds Press, 1987 , Illustrated by Kathryn Brown)
GHOST HOST (HarperCollins, 1987 )
Samantha Spayed Mysteries (Warne and HarperCollins, 1983-1986 )
LIZZIE SILVER OF SHERWOOD FOREST (HarperCollins, 1986 , Illustrated by Miriam Nerlove)
WHERE THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A WAG (Henry Holt and Company, 1986 , Illustrated by Andrew Glass)
HORSEMASTER (Atheneum, 1985 )
A NOSE FOR TROUBLE (Holt, 1985 , Illustrated by Andrew Glass)
THE CASE OF THE CACKLING CAR (HarperCollins, 1985 , Illustrated by Judy Glasser)
A CLUE IN CODE (HarperCollins, 1985 , Illustrated by Judy Glasser)
ARCHER ARMADILLO’S SECRET ROOM (Macmillan, 1985 , Illustrated by Beth Lee Weiner)
THE CASE OF THE SABOTAGED SCHOOL PLAY (HarperCollins, 1984 , Illustrated by Judy Glasser)
LEROY IS MISSING (HarperCollins, 1984 , Illustrated by Judy Glasser)
THE FIDO FRAME-UP (Warne, 1983 , Illustrated by Andrew Glass)
TARANTULAS ON THE BRAIN (HarperCollins, 1982 , Illustrated by Leigh Grant)
THE FIRST FEW FRIENDS (HarperCollins, 1981 )
WILL YOU TAKE ME TO TOWN ON STRAWBERRY DAY? (Harper & Row Publishers, 1981 , Illustrated by Trinka Hakes Noble)
IT CAN’T HURT FOREVER (HarperCollins, 1978 , Illustrated by Leigh Grant)
THE PICKLE PLAN (E.P. Dutton, 1978 , Illustrated by Steven Kellogg)
NO APPLAUSE, PLEASE (E.P. Dutton, 1977 )
THE DOG WHO INSISTED HE WASN’T (E.P. Dutton, 1976 , Illustrated by Kelly Oechsli) 

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