Monday, October 24, 2011

The Bookworm's Feast

The Bookworm’s Feast: A Potluck of Poems

Reader's Guide by Christi McCarty

Bibliographic Information
Lewis, Patrick. 1999. The Bookworm’s Feast: A Potluck of Poems. By: John O’Brien. New York, N.Y. Dial Books for Young Readers.

Recommended Age Levels
Ages 4-8

Summary of Book
This outstanding anthology of verses and rhymes is served in outrageous proportions of appetizers, sherbets, entrees, side dishes, and desserts galore. Bookworms follow the flow of a menu format, enjoying their feast from beginning to end. Bookworms will find themselves carefully chewing on tongue twisters, puns and alliteration galore, appeasing the appetites of bookworms once more. Bookworms take pleasure in choosing from sweet or savory poems or rhymes about mellow armadillo, a HER-I-CANE name Lorelei, a peanut butter eating boy, or an alphabet gang. The Gentleman Bookworm makes a toast at the beginning of the feast saying, "Chew them slowly. One line at a time" and ends with, “Now remember, It’s especially wise to combine excursive, With a bowlful of poetry snacks!” The menu offers intriguing and luring depictions of literature as dishes enticing every bookworm into an eating frenzy. With cross-hatched pen and watercolor drawings covering corner to corner, this book provides humor and originality from page to page.

Review Excerpts 
Publisher Weekly - “A five-star feast.” A "Gentleman Bookworm" invites his friends to a feast of " 'ridiculous rhyme!/ But might I suggest?'/ Said the host to the guest,/ 'Chew them slowly. One line at a time!”

School Library Journal - “A smorgasbord of poetic forms and moods. Arranged in sections like a formal menu ("Appetizers" to "Desserts"), the book contains poems for nearly any taste.”

Kirkus - “Lewis has created an almanac of words at play, using tongue-twisters, puns, alliteration, and many forms and fancies of rhyme scheme in an unabashed celebration of language.”

The Horn Book - “It's not often that such elegantly clever poetry leads to delighted smiles and even full-out belly laughs. When it does, it's truly cause for celebration!”

Questions to Ask before Reading Book
Question 1: Are Bookworms real bugs or are they fictional characters?
Question 2: Who is the author of this book? Who is the illustrator of this book? What does each person contribute to this book?
Question 3: How do the illustrations make you feel? Do they make you feel excited to read or bored and ready for the next activity?
Question 4: What types of poetry/rhymes could be presented in this book?
Question 5: Can you tell what the book is about from the title or the cover of the book?

Suggestions for Reading Poems Aloud
      1. Read poems out loud in class that children will thoroughly enjoy.
      2. Try to find poems to which each child can relate, providing a meaningful literature experience.
      3. Make sure every child can see the illustrations, if they are available.
      4. Read the poems and images beforehand. The more you understand the poem, the more your audience will understand it.
      5. Look up any unfamiliar words in the dictionary for their meaning and pronunciation, for easy explanation.

Strategies for reading the poems in the book
      1. “Heavy Metal Fellow”- Have four students volunteer to read one line in each verse.
Verse 1 Verse 2
Student 1: Milo Armadillo Student 1: Though he’ll seldom follow
Student 2: Heavy metal fellow, Student 2: Fellows up a hill-o
Student 3: Lives beside a hollow Student 3: Milo likes to wallow
Student 4: West of Amarillo. Student 4: Underneath a willow.
Verse 3
Student 1: If you holler, “HELLO,
Student 3: Don’t expect a bellow
Student 4: Milo’

      2. “The Framboise Fair”- Have two female students volunteer to read the poem. The first student will read the daughter's verses, the second student will read the mother's verses.
      3. “Autograph Verse”- As a group read this poem out loud. Have students start the first verse squatting, second verse standing, third verse squatting, and fourth verse standing.
Verse 1: Rain lets you down (Squat)
Verse 2: Sun lifts you up (Stand)
Verse 3: Because you are (Squat)
Verse 4: My butter-cup (Stand)
You could also split the class in half, having have each set of students alternate verse.
Verse 1: (Group 1) Squatting
Verse 2: (Group 2) Standing
Verse 3: (Group 2) Squatting
Verse 4: (Group 1) Standing
Follow Up Activities

Activity 1: (Art) ~Bookworm Book Marks~
Patrick Lewis uses a bookworm as his main character in The Bookworm’s Feast: A Potluck of Poems. Children will have fun creating their very own book mark bookworm that will help them keep their place when they read their favorite books and poems.

Crayons, Markers, Construction Paper, glue, colored yarn, google eyes, stickers, glitter, puff paint, really any art supplies you can find.

Activity 2: (Literature/Drama/Geography) ~Poetry Theater~

Have students perform their favorite selected poem from The Bookworm’s Feast: A Potluck of Poems. This is a great way for students to interact with one another in a collaborative group, which supports team work.

Presentation Suggestions: Have the students read or perform the poem in front of the class. Have the students act out the different lines while they read them.

Props: Have students bring an articles of clothing from home (with permission from parents) to add to the pile of silly clothing. Students will need specific clothes such as blue jeans, a red bandanna, duck shoes (shoes decorated with ducks or yellow shoes) and a rain jacket, but everyone can contribute to the props.

Split students into four groups before performing the theater. Have students draw the states of Louisiana, Maine, Texas, and Vermont on butcher paper to illustrate the states that are mentioned in the poems. Have the students write important facts about each state on each piece of butcher paper.

Delivery: Have students attempt to read the lines of the poem with poetic rhythm. Practicing beforehand would be a plus. Let children volunteer to perform, don’t make students perform if they don’t wish to. We don’t want students' experiences with poetry to be negative.

Student 1
Student 2
Student 3
Student 4

“What to Wear Where”
Student 1:
When I was a boy
In Looziana,
We wore blue jeans
And a red bandanna.

Student 2:
Folks moved up
To the state of Maine,
We wore duck shoes
In slicker-suit rain.

Student 3:
Folks moved down
To the state of Texas,
We wore brand names, Like Lazy X’s.

Student 4:
Now that we’re living
It up in Vermont,
We wear pretty much
Whatever we want.
Activity 3: (Science/Language Arts) ~Sensory Poems~

Grades: 5-8

Patrick Lewis’s poetry book, The Bookworm's Feast: A Potluck of Poems, focuses on the reader’s sense of taste. In Activity 3 students practice writing poetry using words related to the five senses.

Touching Hand Poems
Recreate on paper or the chalkboard a hand poem (see example). Read the poem with the students. Provide each student with a sheet of white construction paper or index paper. Have the students trace their hands on the construction paper with their fingers wide apart. Ask students to think of something special that their hands do such as wave “hello” in friendship, paint a beautiful picture, help them to climb a tree or play a sport, etc. Next, have each student write a poem about his or her hand around the inside edges of the hand outline. Cut out the hand shapes. Display the hand poems along a classroom wall so that one hand touches another to form a border of “Touching Hand Poems.”

Inside, Outside Sense Poems.
Find a few poems that are rich in perceptual detail. After you read the poems to the class, have students discuss how each sense is used in the poems. Ask students to write poems based on their senses, using as the subject things that they hear, smell, taste, touch, and see inside the classroom, house, etc. Use the following “Inside Poem” example to demonstrate a sense poem.

Inside Poem
Inside, I hear the thud of my brother’s feet.
Inside, the smell of pizza floats across my desk.
Inside, I taste the sweetness of my gum.
Inside, I run my hand across my paper.
Inside, I see my mother going down the hall.

Read the poem and discuss how a different sense is introduced on each line. Have students write a few inside poems. Challenge them to write the poem without using the words “see,” “hear,” “feel,” “touch,” “taste,” or “smell.” When students have written inside poems, ask them to write outside poems, which express the use of their senses in an outdoor environment. Assemble the students’ sense poems into a class book.

Printable version of this Activity can be found at:

Activity 4: (Writing Activity) ~Letters to Friends~
Have students write a letter to a friend like in the “Postcard Poem” in The Bookworm's Feast: A Potluck of Poems. Students can place the letters on their friend’s desks or in their cubbies when they have completed them.

If there is a student who doesn’t get a letter from a friend, the teacher could make them feel extra special by writing them a special letter and putting it in their cubby or on their desk. You could also assign partners to prevent anyone from getting their feeling hurt.

Related Websites J. Patrick Lewis' personal website: -Here you'll find Rebecca Kai Dotlich's warm and evocative poems for the young. -The children's poet Kenn Nesbitt provides both a service and a treat for anyone interested in kids' poetry. -Don't miss the fractured mind of Gareth Lancaster. - Jane Yolen, children's author extraordinaire, offers a beautiful, useful and "well-lighted place." - Award winning poetry website for children.

Related Books
Other Collections by: J. Patrick Lewis
Lewis, Patrick. 2002. Doodle Dandies: Poems That Take Shape. By: Lisa Desimini. New York. Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Lewis, Patrick. 2005. Heroes and She-Roes: Poems of Amazing and Everyday Heroes. By: Jack Cooke. New York. Dial
Lewis, Patrick. 2008. The World’s Greatest: Poems. By: Keith Graves. California. Chronicle Books

Fictional Collections of Poetry focusing on Dinosaurs
Frost, John. 1998. Dragons, Dinosaurs, Monster Poems. By: Korky Paul. New York Oxford Press.
Frost, John. 2004. Dinosaur Poems. By: Korky Paul. New York. Oxford Press. 

Florian, Douglas. 2009. Dinothesaurus: Prehistoric Poems and Painting. California. Bench Lane Books.
Fictional Collections of Poetry about Weather Patterns

Frank, John. 2003. A Chill in the Air: Nature Poems for Fall and Winter. New York. Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. 

Salas Laura. 2008. Seed Sower, Hat Thrower: Poems about Weather. Minnesota. Capstone Press. 

Kennedy, Dorothy. 1998. Make Things Fly: Poems about the Wind. By: Sasha Meret. New York. Margaret K. McElderry.

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