Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review: Toasting Marshmallows Camping Poems

Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems by Kristine O'Connell George
Illustrated by Kate Kiesler

First and foremost, I want to say I chose this book for my other poetry book because the author has a great name!! Until the last few years, I never ever saw people who spelled their name the same as mine. So that was exciting for me!

This book consists of thirty poems all about camping. The author shapes her words in some of the poems. In the first poem, called Tent (p. 4) the author writes in the shape of a tent and uses many onomatopoeias to express what it is like to set up a tent. I think this is a great way for readers to create their own image of what it is like to set up a tent. Even readers who may have not gone camping before can have an idea of what it's like.
                             smooth dirt.
                      No rocks or roots.
               Next, sharp stakes, poles,
         strong nylon rope. Shake, snap.
    Billow, whoof, settle. Tug. Pull taut.
Our tent is up! Blooming, bright orange.
The poem Mosquito Song (p. 21) is pretty funny. I always get bit by mosquitoes. It's ridiculous. You can read this article, on Eyes on Malaria Online about mosquitoes and some of the possible reasons why some people get bit more than others! It's pretty interesting.
It's meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
                          Is that you, Dinner?
The author uses similes to create imagery in the reader's mind. "I'm a caterpillar in a cozy cloth cocoon that zips." (p. 10). She also varies the types and styles of poetry she writes. Some of the poems are written in a specific shape, like Tent and others have rhyme. Many of them utilize white space to create an effect. In the poem, Storm (p. 19), the author writes the poem so it looks like rain coming down the page.
The illustrations in this book are by Kate Kiesler. She used acrylic paint for her work. The images are very pretty. They are generally greens and blues because the book takes place outside. Since she used paint, it seemed like it was hard to put small details in the pictures. In some of the illustrations, the people don't have faces. Most of the pages are full bleed pictures on one side and the poem on the other page.

I think this is a great poetry book for children. The author and illustrator work together to create a beautiful story that children can see in their minds. They can relate the experiences in the book to the their own camping experiences. Even if they have never gone camping before, the book provides them with such a vivid story, they might feel like they actually went on the trip!

When I think of camping, I think of going with my Girl Scout troops. We did a lot of things that the family in the book did. I was able to easily relate to this book and it was fun to think about my camping experiences. It also made me want to go camping again! Their trip was fun!

Kristine O'Connell George and Kate Kiesler have also authored and illustrated two other poetry books together including The Great Frog Race and Other Poems, which won The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award (an award to an American poet or anthologist for the most outstanding new book of children's poetry), and Old Elm Speaks: Tree Poems.

One of Kristine's newest books, Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems has a book trailer you can check out!

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