Poetry Monday Kids’ Classic: “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll

May 21, 2012 54 Comments by Renee M. LaTulippe

Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas—only I don’t exactly know what they are! However, SOMEBODY killed SOMETHING: that’s clear, at any rate—
–Alice after reading “Jabberwocky”

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Hello, donderfous readers! I’m so pleapful to be making my first poetic appearance on the blog since sometime in March — I’ve moffered it! And I’m even more excitillated to be back with something newld…

As a result of my convails with J. Patrick Lewis during Poetry Month, I was spryed to start a new monthly series of videos called Kids’ Classics — that’s chilsic poems recited by yours truly and whoever else I wruggle up out in the poetry fields. Pat sponed often about how much going back to the classics informed his own writing, so I went back in time to take a glanster myself…and realized I’d forgotten what amazerous tremonds there are from back in the day.

Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
–The White Queen

I nood right away that I had to karst the new series with Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky,” perhaps the best known and most blavous of classic children’s poems. And you’ll see in the video that things are getting curiouser and curiouser here at No Water River. This poem just seemed to scryle for a little extra panoomph, so that’s what I’ve given it.

Jabberwocky creatures

If you, donderfous readers, have a fraverist classic poem from your childhood, please tell me so in the comments. If it’s free of copyright, I’ll do my best to cordorize it.

Without further baloo, I present my rendition of “Jabberwocky.” I hope you joykle it.

Jabberwocky

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

 “Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought —
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

–Lewis Carroll
from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872

What’s Up with Lewis Carroll

Lewis CarrollReal name: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson
Dates: b. 1832 in Cheshire, England; d. 1898 in Surrey, England
Occupation: author, mathematician, logician, deacon, photographer
Works: Best known for his children’s stories Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and for his poems “Jabberwocky” and “The Hunting of the Snark.”
Known for: Word play, logic, fantasy.
Full bios and overviews
at Poetry Foundation and The Victorian Web
Facebook: Lewis Carroll
Twitter: @LewisCarroll

 

Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.  –Tweedledee

Glossary of Nonsense (Portmanteau) Words in this Post

I invented twenty-two words for this post, some of which may be true portmanteaux, and others that just sound funny. In order of appearance:

  • donderfous = dear + wonderful + delicious
  • pleapful = pleased
  • moffered = missed + “been off of”
  • excitillated = excited + titillated
  • newld = new + old
  • convails = conversations + emails
  • spryed = inspired + spinto (“a push” in Italian)
  • chilsic = children’s + classic
  • wruggle = rustle + wrangle + dig
  • sponed = spoke + opined
  • glanster = gander + glance
  • amazerous = amazing + wondrous
  • tremonds = treasures + diamonds
  • nood = knew + understood
  • karst = start + kick off
  • blavous = beautiful + lovely + famous
  • scryle = scream + yearn + cry out
  • panoomph = panache + oomph
  • fraverist = favorite + flavorful
  • cordorize = record + immortalize
  • baloo = ballyhoo + ado
  • joykle = enjoy + like

Extension Activities for “Jabberwocky” and Lewis Carroll

  • Creative writing, of course! Explain the term portmanteau and have students write their own nonsense verse, ensuring that it makes sense grammatically. Have students perform their poems in groups.
  • Have students decide what the nonsense words might mean, then read Humpty Dumpty’s “translations” of the portmanteau.
  • Project Carroll is a wonderful one-man initiative to “adapt Lewis Carroll’s works in a respectful, faithful, deserving way” — in this case, in the form of animated videos for each chapter in Carroll’s Alice novels.
  • Plenty of online lesson plans cover creative writing and other aspects of Carroll’s poem, including portmanteau, word analysis, and grammar. Try some of these: Bright Hub Education, Read, Write, Think, and Power to Learn.
  • For an in-depth look at the poem, eNotes provides a comprehensive “Jabberwocky” study guide.
  • Read Carroll’s complete novels, poems, and other works at Project Gutenberg.
  • Art/drama/public speaking: Students can illustrate a scene in the poem, make a complete storyboard, create their version of the Jabberwock, memorize and recite the poem, or act out the poem in groups.

We’re all mad here.  –The Cheshire Cat

Video Location: Under the TumTum tree.

See more poems in my poetry video library.
 
“Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll is out of copyright.

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51 Comments

  1. Penny Klostermann
    5 years ago

    Renee! That was awesome! You are a woman of endless talent. I was completely entertained. I could’ve watched more and more and more!
    This will be a wonderful series and a great addition to your poetry library.

    Reply

    • Renee LaTulippe
      5 years ago

      Shucks, thanks, Penny! I would like to do more performance poems, so we’ll see how it goes. Will need to rustle up some more costumes…:)

      Reply

  2. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
    5 years ago

    Tremooska! Tremmoska! I joykle!

    This was magnificent. Your voice and your face and your costume too. Thank you, Renee! I love this and can’t wait to play it for my children tonight. a.

    Reply

    • Renee LaTulippe
      5 years ago

      Thanks, Amy! If you or your kids ever want to dress up and do a classic poem for the library, I’m all ears and eyes.

      Reply

  3. Susanna Leonard Hill
    5 years ago

    WOW!! That was something! You are so talented, Renee! You never cease to amaze me! Are you also secretly an actress? 🙂

    Reply

    • Renee LaTulippe
      5 years ago

      Haha, Susanna….not so secretly — my undergrad degree is in acting/directing and I spent over 15 years doing theater in various capacities. I’ve just decided to dust off those skills every now and then…:)

      Reply

  4. Heather
    5 years ago

    Yes!! I don’t even know what to say other than “WOW!”

    Reply

  5. Eric VanRaepenbusch
    5 years ago

    Bravo! Bravo! Fantastic! Thank you so much. What a great way to start the week!

    Reply

  6. Brenda
    5 years ago

    Absolutely beautiful. This must have taken a long time as it is well thought out. What’s next? The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Tyger? Okay, I’ll be patient and see what you come up with next. Thanks so much Renee. What a treat.

    Reply

    • Renee LaTulippe
      5 years ago

      @ Heather and Eric – thanks, guys!!!!

      @ Brenda — who knows what’s next? I guess it depends on what costume I find…:)

      Reply

  7. Dana Carey
    5 years ago

    You are extraspectaculous, Renée. So great. I’ve never enjoyed Lewis Carroll so much. 🙂

    Reply

  8. Joanna Marple
    5 years ago

    Fantabulous my dear… your talent knows no bounds and this is such a wonderful resource for anyone wanting to teach poetry to kids. Quite splendufuchsias!

    Reply

    • Renee LaTulippe
      5 years ago

      @ Dana and Joanna – merci, mesdames! I do hope teachers eventually find and use this resource!

      Reply

  9. Natalie
    5 years ago

    You are so talented!!! Truly, Renee. It is a gift. 🙂 Love the new classics series!

    Reply

  10. Cathy Mealey
    5 years ago

    ^ O ^

    (standing O)

    Next, I envision a Pooh costume and some a.a.milne….

    Fantabulous indeed!

    Reply

  11. Elizabeth Stevens Omlor
    5 years ago

    Renee! How’d ya get to be so darn cool? 🙂 Great post. I love the idea of revisiting the classics! 🙂

    Reply

  12. Iza Trapani
    5 years ago

    Brava Bella! That was absolutely wonderfulous! You ARE a talent!

    Reply

  13. Jim Hill
    5 years ago

    That was wonderful and daring. Bravo!

    Reply

    • Renee LaTulippe
      5 years ago

      Thanks, Jim! It just seemed to cry out for a little daring, so I couldn’t help it…:)

      Reply

  14. Darlene Foster
    5 years ago

    Brilliant!

    Reply

  15. Erik This Kid Reviews Books
    5 years ago

    I love Through the Looking Glass! I like the poem you recited – and the dress and hat (don’t forget the gloves!)! Magnificent! 😀 I can see how you are an acthor/ (actor/actess and author combo) 😉
    Erik

    Reply

  16. Hannah Holt
    5 years ago

    Wow! Encore! Encore! I can’t wait to see what other poems you find. I’d love to see you do the Lady of Shalott, but I don’t know its copyright status.

    Reply

    • Renee LaTulippe
      5 years ago

      The Lady of Shalott would be so much fun…but it is LOOOONG. I’d need to do a whole series, haha!

      Reply

  17. Robyn Hood Black
    5 years ago

    Saw this the other day and finally have a chance to more properly shower you with accolades, Renee – this is incredible! I just played it for my 17-year-old, who informed me he wasn’t familiar with Jabberwocky. Very expensive high school preparatory education since kindergarten, and he didn’t know Jabberwocky?! Ah, well, sometimes a parent must step in.

    I’ve wanted to learn this by heart to recite; you’ve completely inspired me to just go ahead and do it. (Though I won’t have your cool jazz hands and custom attire….) Thanks for your endless creativity.

    Reply

    • Renee LaTulippe
      5 years ago

      I appreciate the accolades, Robyn — but Lewis makes it easy with this poem. 😉 And no Jabborwocky? A serious oversight for sure!

      Let me know when you’ve got it memorized. It really didn’t take too long (though, annoyingly, I made a couple small mistakes in the video). And It’s just as good without the jazz hands, too!

      Reply

  18. jama
    5 years ago

    Joykle joykle!

    *thunderous applause*

    Reply

  19. Carrie Finison
    5 years ago

    Wonderful, Renee! I’ve loved that poem since our class did “Alice in Wonderland” in 5th grade. I love your idea for this series. And ‘wruggle’ is the best word I’ve seen in MONTHS! I will definitely start using that one. 😉

    Reply

    • Renee LaTulippe
      5 years ago

      Oh, Allice in Wonderland has so many fabulous bits to mine…. Let the wruggling begin!

      Reply

  20. Tabatha
    5 years ago

    You really snicker-snacked that, Renee! Swoosh! Maybe “My Last Duchess”? It’s also got the creepy.

    Reply

    • Renee LaTulippe
      5 years ago

      Heh, I like things with the creepy. Not sure “My Last Duchess” would fit the theme, but I just had fun listening to it a poets.org just the same!

      Reply

  21. Katya
    5 years ago

    That was really great. You made me even happier than the cupcake I ate for breakfast!

    I have always loved The Tale of Custard the Dragon and so do my kids.

    Reply

    • Renee LaTulippe
      5 years ago

      Cupcakes for breakfast! I’m partial to brownies, myself. Just read Custard the Dragon and … yeah .. he’s definitely on the list.

      Reply

  22. Tara
    5 years ago

    Awesome! I love how we’re completely in character, from the introduction to the video…just perfect, Renee!

    Reply

  23. Linda Baie
    5 years ago

    Love every single bit. You are a lesson yourself, Renee. I can just see students finding their own poems to video themselves reciting. That would get them excited! Thank you for the creative presentation. You made this new again for me. I have one poem that I grew up with & then my middle school students loved at Halloween: “Little Orphant Annie” by James Whitcomb Riley. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Renee LaTulippe
      5 years ago

      @ Tara – So glad you enjoyed it!

      @ Linda – Thanks so much for the kind words. Just looked up “Little Orphant Annie” — hoo boy, I could have some fun with that!

      Reply

  24. Ruth
    5 years ago

    WOW! I DID joykle it. That was amazing!

    Reply

  25. Laura Shovan
    5 years ago

    Hi, Renee. This was so much fun. Jabberwocky is a favorite in my family. My brother and I, also my daughter, have the poem by heart. I love your outfit in the video!

    Reply

  26. Rena J. Traxel
    5 years ago

    I love the costume. The Jabberwocky is such a weird poem and you did a wonderful job of performing it.

    Reply

    • Renee LaTulippe
      5 years ago

      Thanks, folks! That’s one of my Carnevale in Venice costumes, sewn by hand over the course of a year. So glad I found another use for it! 🙂

      Reply

  27. violet
    5 years ago

    How wonderful was that! Methinks you would have us all sitting on the edge of our seats even if you just recited the alphabet.

    Reply

    • Renee LaTulippe
      5 years ago

      Wow, Violet, high praise indeed, though I’m not sure my skills extend to the alphabet, haha!

      Reply

  28. Emily Jade
    5 years ago

    She Walks in Beauty
    by Lord Byron

    She walks in beauty, like the night
    Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
    And all that’s best of dark and bright
    Meets in her aspect and her eyes;
    Thus mellow’d to that tender light
    Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.

    One shade the more, one ray the less,
    Had half impair’d the nameless grace
    Which waves in every raven tress
    Or softly lightens o’er her face,
    Where thoughts serenely sweet express
    How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

    And on that cheek and o’er that brow
    So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
    The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
    But tell of days in goodness spent,—
    A mind at peace with all below,
    A heart whose love is innocent.

    Reply

  29. Julie Hedlund
    5 years ago

    Wow, wow, WOW! I finally made it over here to watch this and I am so joykle I did! You amazzle me!! I was rapt the whole time. Can’t wait for the rest in this series!!!

    Reply

  30. Marie Lindsen
    5 years ago

    Young and Old

    ~Charles Kingsley

    When all the world is young lad,
    And all the trees are green;
    And every goose a swan, lad,
    And every lass a queen;
    Then hey for boot and horse, lad,
    And round the world away;
    Young blood must have its course, lad,
    And every dog his day.

    When all the world is old, lad,
    And all the trees are brown;
    When all the sport is stale, lad,
    And all the wheels run down;
    Creep home, and take your place there,
    The spent and maimed among:
    God grant you find one face there,
    You loved when all was young.

    Reply

  31. Christy
    4 years ago

    That was beautifully done, though I found it strange how slowly you recited the first few lines. On thinking about it afterwards I realized I tend to rush through those lines partly out of a fear of my children losing interest and turning away before I get to the next line, but slow probably does work better.

    As a child the poems I remembered most clearly were those that were encorporated into the Anne of Green Gables movie, and thus that I was exposed to young and had to look up as quickly as I could to hear the rest of.

    Reply

  32. Renee C.
    4 years ago

    That was so much fun to watch! It has been such a long time that I’ve watched someone recite poetry outside of the theatre. We used to have poetry recitals in school and I still remember reciting Sick by Shel Silverstein. I am so glad that you linked this into the Kid Lit Blog Hop and I’ve tweeted about it to my followers!

    Have a wonderful week Renee! 🙂

    Reply

  33. Jaymie Shook
    4 years ago

    Wow, Renee, I can only imagine how long this post took to write! Thanks for linking it into the Kid Lit Blog Hop so we could enjoy it 🙂

    Reply

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] NOT miss this performance of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” by Renee LaTulippe at No Water River.  This is a simply fabulous performance!  I can’t wait to share it with my […]

  2. By Poetry Performance Tips DOING POETRY RIGHT on October 27, 2012 at 12:16 am

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  3. […] performances I do are of those poems in my Classics series. Of those, I’d say my favorites are “Jabberwocky” because of the delicious sounds and language (and the costume!) and the three witches from […]

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