Poetry Friday: “Puff” by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

"Puff" by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

"Puff" by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Once upon a time…

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in a forest far, far away, there lived a thoughtful girl named Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. 

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Now, the forest that the girl lived in was not an enchanted forest as you might expect. It was a regular forest, the kind of forest other fairy tales would snub.

But that didn’t matter. Because, you see, the girl herself was enchanted. She danced through the forest every day, and everything she touched danced with her. Ferns unfurled to say hello. Leaves leapt from trees to carpet her step. Birds twittered ditties more sweetly. Bunnies twitched their tails with delight.

Amy was not blind to the gifts of her forest. She greeted each leaf and nut and creature with admiration and interest.

“Hello, acorn,” she’d say. “That is a particularly spiffy cap you have on today.”

“Good morning, oak,” she’d say. “What stories do you have to tell me today?”

And Amy listened. She knew all the wind’s troubles. She knew all the bluejay’s songs. She knew where each squeak and scuffle in the underbrush led.

Amy decided it was time to share the gifts of the forest with the rest of the world. She snuggled into her enchanted blankie with her enchanted pencil and…


Out popped a book.

FOREST HAS A SONG by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Naturally, this book was full of enchantment. The maiden Robbin Gourley even drew pictures for it, and  those were enchanted, too. Amy gave us fossils and ferns — yes, the same ferns that unfurled a hello each morning.

FOREST HAS A SONG by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Amy gave us critters and critter songs.

FOREST HAS A SONG by Amy Ludwig VanderWater

Amy gave us magical puffing mushrooms. Shh. Listen…

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FOREST HAS A SONG by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Amy loved sharing these gifts, but she missed her forest. She knew it was time to go back home to her trees and birds and ferns. After all, she had to give them a gift, too.

There was great rejoicing in that forest far, far away when Amy returned. The trees spread their branches to welcome her. The brook burbled its pleasure. Critters chattered and circled her in a wreath of berries. Amy was enchanted.

“Thank you, forest,” she said. “Now look at what I’ve done. I’ve put you, fern, on this page here. And you, squirrel, are over here. And trees, don’t think I’ve forgotten you. Don’t think I’ve forgotten any of you. In this book, I’ve captured all your songs.”

Then Amy and the forest sang those songs together, and the rest of the world joined in. Because Forest Has a Song.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater with FOREST HAS A SONG


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[heading style=”1″]Extension Activities for Forest Has a Song[/heading]

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  1. Beautiful story Renee. I hope I’ll get to meet this magical person named Amy someday! No joke, really! I love the book and have shared it and shared it at school. It is lovely, isn’t it?

  2. Oh, Renee! You never cease to amaze. I wish that I was enchanted enough to poof through this screen and give you a big fat hug. Thank you for celebrating my book with your traditional joy and love. I am truly grateful, and we’re smiling away over here. Puff! xxoo, a.

  3. Looks like such a wonderful book – I love the wordplay and internal rhyme Amy uses as much as her imagery! Thanks for sharing, Renee.

  4. Way to go Amy! I love it. Renee, thanks as alwas for the magic of your own No Water River. What a gift! David

  5. Beautiful posting and video, beautiful book, beautiful poet, beautiful blogger and blog, beautiful contribution to children’s lives and ours, too. Thank you, Amy and Renee!

    Do I appear, perhaps, at a loss for words? No, beautiful simply says it all! I am presenting my school library with a signed copy of Forest Has a Song and am hoping to see it become a well-loved, treasured book by my poetry-loving students! It is not just a book, it is a gift! And so is NWR!!!

  6. There is magic and enchantment in this post! Fabulous! Amy, I can’t wait to read your book. I’m going to read it outside when it arrives!!!

    Renée…another unbelievably awesome job!

  7. Your fairy tale story, Renee, works perfectly with that magical mushroom. I kept expecting Amy to puff and have nothing come out, but the spores were endless! Impossible to read the poem now without seeing the puffball in action!

  8. This post makes my heart smile – Renée’s magic fairy dust on Amy, Amy’s magic fairy dust in her words, the mushroom’s magic fairy dust everywhere. (I’ve never tried “puffing” – poofing? – one multiple times before, so like Janet I was surprised to see it just keeps going!)

    I was a fan of this book before I even owned it. Thanks to both of you, and Congrats again to Amy!!!

  9. Renee,
    You never disappoint me. I can always come hang out here and get lost in the dreamland of poetry. Amy’s video is adorable and I look forward to sharing it with my students. I have never heard of a puff mushroom. Wonderful inspiration for writing, too.

  10. I love the poems in the book (read it a couple of weeks ago), I love the video and I love the story that came with the promotion of this fine book. Renee and Amy rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Terrific reading, Amy! Thank you (and you, too, Renée!) for bringing this poem alive on video … seeing the real “Puff!” was fascinating. I spent a lot of time in the woods when I was young, but don’t recall any of those. -Ed

    1. Renee, I can’t even express how grateful I am for this post…and for you in the world of children’s poetry. I wish that I could build a little tinfoil boat, shrink myself, and take you for coffee and some delicious Italian pastry tomorrow morning for breakfast. Big hug. xo, a.

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