Hey there, cool cats.
I’ve got some groovin’ bunnies cooling their heels in the green room today, so I hope you’re in the mood for some whisker-twitchin’ jazz. But before they take the stage, I thought I’d start something new by chatting every now and then about what I actually do for a living, which is write and edit, and about how certain poems come about. I can already hear the tsk-tsking and paw thumping in the wings, so I’ll get on with it.
Today’s poem is another selection from the book Lizard Lou, a collection that contains equal parts my poems and classic children’s poems. This book was written as part of a pre-reading program for All About Learning Press, so I thankfully did not have the vocabulary constraints I have with the early readers.
Lizard Lou is laid out with three poems per letter of the alphabet, and each poem contains a keyword. These keywords are used in the poems and referenced in the teacher’s manual, but they are not necessarily the subjects of the poems. The focus letter is also referred to visually on the letter page before each section, as in this illustration for the lowercase “r” section:
By the way, the keyword rake is referenced in the poem “Under the Willow” by Leroy F. Jackson (1881-1958), author of The Peter Patter Book of Nursery Rhymes. If you’re not familiar with his work, go read some! He’s really delightful.
“The Rabbit Band” was one of the last poems I wrote for the book, a last-minute replacement for another “r” poem that wasn’t working out. I remember being pretty tapped out at that point and convinced that the English language didn’t actually contain words that begin with “r”. Sorry, no more words for poems! All out!
As often happens, my brainstorming partner (aka my husband) came to the rescue with “What about rabbits?” “What about them?” I asked dubiously. “What about…a band of…rabbits…that do something…?” he offered. A band of rabbits? Are they marauding rabbits? Are they bandit rabbits? They could be marauding bandit rabbits! But since this book is for pre-school, they turned out to be a rabbit band instead. Words are fun!
And they are even more fun when accompanied by lovely illustrations like this one by artist and writer Donna Goeddaeus. Donna illustrated all 70+ poems in the book and also illustrates many of the early reader stories I write. Sweet, huh?
All righty then, I’ve got a seething mass of irritated fur staring me down. So put on your shades, get those jazz hands waggling, and nod along as “The Rabbit Band” tickles the…well, carrots.
THE RABBIT BAND
Late one night in the lettuce patch,
where scarecrows guard the land,
I heard a snazzy jazzy tune
played by a rabbit band.
One tap-tapped on a carrot,
one munch-munched on a leaf,
one snip-snipped on a turnip root,
one whistled through his teeth.
One chomp-chomped on a shallot,
one thump-thumped with his paws–
and at the end, those bunnies got
a round of loud applause.
[heading style=”1″]Extension Activities: “The Rabbit Band”[/heading]
- For this poem, I wondered what rabbits could use as musical instruments (carrots, leaves, their paws, their teeth), how the rabbits would “play” those instruments (chewing, biting, thumping), and what sounds the instruments might make (chomp-chomp, thump-thump, snip-snip). Write your own music poem by choosing an animal or group of animals and brainstorming all the ways those animals could make noise. What items could they find in their natural surroundings? What noises could they make with those items? How would the animals “play” the instruments?
- Read about real musical instruments in the delightfully zippy picture book, Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin.
- Make your own musical instruments! Artists Helping Children has dozens of ideas and instructions.
[heading style=”1″]COMING UP NEXT WEEK: M.M. SOCKS![/heading]
WELL, PUFF MY COTTONTAIL!
You’d like to receive weekly poetry posts in your inbox, you say? That’s music to my ears!
Video Location: JazzRabbit Station, second left after PawBunny Mills.See more poems in my poetry video library. “The Rabbit Band” by Renée LaTulippe. Illustrations by Donna Goeddaeus. Licensed by All About Learning Press, Inc. Copyright © 2010, 2012 All About Learning Press, Inc. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be copied, retransmitted, reposted, duplicated, or otherwise used without the express written approval of All About Learning Press, Inc.