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Oh My Darling, Valentine

Oh My Darling, Valentine (Sung to the tune of “Clementine”)Oh My Darling Valentine

In a toy store 
on a Sunday
with a dollar forty-nine,
I need something,
just a dumb thing,
for my brand-new
valentine. 

Oh my darling,
oh my darling,
oh my darling,
valentine.
I’m uneasy,
kind of queasy,
but you’re still my
valentine. 

Yes, it happened
in the classroom
when you said,
“Will you be mine?”
I was muddled
and befuddled,
so I answered,
“Yeah, that’s fine.” 

Then you called me
in the lunchroom.
You had saved a
place in line.
And I knew that
it was true that
I was now your
valentine. 

I went shopping
for a present,
and I saw this
blinking sign:
“Here’s a pleasant
little present
for a brand-new
valentine.” 

So I bought it,
and I brought it
in my backpack
right at nine.
Do you like it?
It’s a spy kit
with a flashlight
you can shine. 

I could tell you
didn’t like it
when you said I
was a swine.
How exciting!
I’m delighting.
I have no more
valentine. 

Till another
person stopped me,
and she asked,
“Will you be mine?”
This is crushing!
Oh, I’m blushing.
I’ve another
valentine. 

Text © Kenn Nesbitt reprinted from Revenge of the Lunch Ladies, published by Meadowbrook Press. Illustration © Mike & Carl Gordon.

Mary Had a Little Jam Review


Mary Had a Little JamThe January issue of Story Monsters Ink (archived here) called the new expanded edition of Mary Had a Little Jam "simply adorable!"

"A truly fresh and silly recount of the classic nursery rhymes that is sure to delight children, and create a love for giggle poetry."

Pick up your own copy from your favorite bookseller!

Available from these retailers

Amazon.com Barnes&Noble BN.com BAM! Books-a-Million IndieBound
Life Story: Vicki Lansky

Vicki Lansky

Our thought go out to the family of Vicki Lansky, first author and co-founder of Meadowbrook Press.

How to Write New Year's Resolutions

How to Write New Year's Resolutions

by Bruce Lansky

If you read Bridget Jones's Diary, you know it starts out with her New Year's resolutions: lists of things she will and won't do. I'd reprint them all, but it would take too much time and effort to get the reprint rights, so I'll just serve up a smattering of my favorites: 

I Will Not 

Waste money on exotic underwear since pointless as have no boyfriend. 
Fall for any of the following: alcoholics, workaholics, commitment phobics, chauvinists, freeloaders, perverts. 
Have crushes on men, but instead form relationships based on mature assessment of character. 

I Will 

Go to gym three times a week not merely to buy sandwich. 
Learn to program video. 
Give all clothes which have not worn for two years or more to homeless. 
Not go out every night but stay in and read books and listen to classical music. 

Interestingly, the publisher of Bridget Jones's Diary put some of her resolutions on the back cover of the book to promote it: 

Meet Bridget Jones--a 30-something Singleton who is certain she would have all the answers if she could: 

  a. lose 7 pounds
  b. stop smoking
  c. develop Inner Poise

And the studio that distributed the movie used her resolutions on the poster promoting the movie. Surely, I'm not the only person who was struck by the comic brilliance of Bridget's resolutions, but I'm probably one of the few who see them as delicious examples of list poems. 

If this is isn't your first PoetryTeachers.com "poetry lesson," you already know my take on list poems--they're just about the easiest way to get kids (or adults) writing poetry. Writing a list poem is fairly easy. All you have to do is make a list, using parallel structure throughout. What makes some list poems better than others is that the better ones: 

  • make sense 
  • "go somewhere" (that is, begin somewhere and end somewhere else) 
  • include humor or some other feeling, if possible 

Notice that Bridget Jones's resolutions not only make sense, they go somewhere--that is, they cover what she won't do and what she will do. Reading them, you can quickly grasp that she's a desperate Singleton who doesn't have a boyfriend and is trying to get her act together so she might be able to attract one in the future. And, they're funny--they give you a sense of just how unlikely it is that she'll succeed with any of her resolutions. 

Now that you know how much I love Bridget (if you haven't read the book or seen the movie, I suggest you do so at your earliest convenience), and know how much I like list poems, consider this opportunity: Have your class write list poems when they get back to school in January after their holiday vacations. The theme can be their New Year's resolutions or that old chestnut "What I Did Over Winter Vacation." 

Here's my quick take on both of those themes: 

My New Year's Resolutions 

Turn off "Stranger Things" when I'm supposed to be studying for speling test. 
Don't stay home with a "stomach ache" the day of speling test. 
Don't express mock surprise when I flunk speling. 
Don't fake my father's signature on the report card. 
Or, at very least, learn how to spel his first name correctly.

"Resolutions"

Resolutions by Linda Knaus

© copyright Linda Knaus with permission of its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

"Santa Got Stuck in the Chimney"

Santa Got Stuck in the Chimney by Kenn Nesbitt

© copyright Kenn Nesbitt with permission of its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

Library Journal Review

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the NewbornPregnancy, Childbiirth, and the Newborn was reviewed in last month's Libary Journal.

“VERDICT: Readers considering having a baby or who are already pregnant will find this a valuable resource. - Barbara Lundanis, Longmont Public Library, Colorado”

Available from these retailers

Amazon.com Barnes&Noble BN.com BAM! Books-a-Million IndieBound
A Bad Case of Sneezes

A Bad Case of Sneezes by Bruce LanskyLast night I had the sneezes.
I was really very ill.
My mother called the doctor
who prescribed a purple pill.

At eight o’clock I went to bed.
My mom turned out the light.
I used up one whole box of Kleenex
sneezing through the night.

I sneezed my brains out in my bed.
I didn’t get much rest.
So that’s the reason, teacher,
that I flunked the spelling test.

Text © Bruce Lansky with permission of its publisher Meadowbrook Press. Illustration © Stephen Carpenter.

Turkey Treats

Picture of The Children's Busy Book

What you'll need: 

One 15-ounce package prepared pie crusts
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
Turkey-shaped cookie cutter

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 450ºF. Unfold the piecrusts on wax paper. Let your child cut shapes from the pastry with the cookie cutter. Mix the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture over the shapes. Transfer them to an ungreased baking sheet and bake them for 8–10 minutes. Remove them from the baking sheet and let them cool on a wire rack.

This recipe makes about 16 turkey treats.

© copyright Trish Kuffner from The Children's Busy Book with permission of its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

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