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14:14 PB ELEMENTS – Ocean Soup, Tide-Pool Poems – RHYME

February 20, 2015

Ocean SoupOcean Soup, Tide-Pool Poems
author, Stephen R. Swinburne
illustrator, Mary Peterson
(c) 2010, Charlesbridge

(1,697 words, AR Reading Level 3.8)

Before you balk at a book of poems with 1,697 words…realize that this is a non-fiction title and there are wonderful ‘sidebars’ of fascinating information.

So, on every page, there’s fun AND facts.  What a combination!

I love books like this, and of course the element I’m highlighting is RHYME.  Of course, there’s tons of word play as an element in poetry too.  Consider the alliteration and consonance in the title: Ocean Soup – Tide-Pool Poems. But Stephen Swinburne has hauled right out of the water some marvelous rhyming verse in varied fun forms and clever perspectives as if he had been swimming there all along.

Did you know barnacles can rap?

“Don’t want no crab.
Don’t want no prawn.
All I wanna eat
is fresh plankton.
I do the filter feed, the filter feed.” (from Barnacle Rap)

With a sociable sea slug, urchins with self-esteem, a lurking sculpin not to be trusted, and a bully lobster, Swinburne relates tide-pool living with the an alluring humor and charm based on intriguing creature behaviors. So this book might also be a great example for the story element of character.  The creatures interact, not to the rules of any defined plot, but to simply populate the life of ocean-side puddles.

It seems the author used rhyme to accomplish the sense that each creature, with its own poem, has its own place in the tide-pool habitat, albeit connected with every other creature in the pool in some way.

Mary Peterson’s full bleed illustrations capture the ebb and flow with movement that accompanies the rhythm and rhyme in Swinburne’s text, as well as that connectivity that his poems imply.

This is a delightful book, and perfect for a trip to the beach–virtual or real. If you go, just be sure to follow the advice of the seagull gazing down into the pool on page one:

“Tide-pool soup is really good,
a most delicious snack.
But careful! When you take a bite,
this soup might bite you back.”

(See a list of other reviewers’ posts in Christi’s latest post at Write Wild.)

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2015 12:03 pm

    Love these combo poems-nonfiction types of books! Have you read Dear Wandering Wildebeest?

    • February 20, 2015 1:11 pm

      No, haven’t yet…but probably will now! I love them too. They are such a great approach to nonfiction facts.
      Thanks Katie.

  2. February 20, 2015 1:42 pm

    My critique partner is working on something similar. It’s a rhyming alphabet book on just one topic. She also has sidebars of information. It’s a lot of fun to read. Hope her’s does as well as this one!

  3. February 20, 2015 5:06 pm

    Gotta love Steve! This is such just an all around fun one!
    I love how deep you go and utilize the other elements in your posts!

  4. February 20, 2015 6:38 pm

    I love books that use poetry to teach facts. I haven’t seen this one yet. Looking forward to it.

  5. Christie Wright Wild permalink
    February 21, 2015 11:37 pm

    What fun! (Except if the soup bites you back…) I love poetry collections.

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