Lewis, J. Patrick. 1998. Doodle Dandies: Poems That Take Shape. Ill. by Lisa Desimini. New York, NY: Antheneum Books for Young Readers. ISBN 0-689-81075X.
Recommended Age Levels 4-8
Summary of Book
J. Patrick Lewis’ individual poet compilation, Doodle Dandies: Poems That Take Shape, explores many different topics in nineteen different age appropriate poems, with each poem representing a poetic element of its own. For instance, rhythm can be seen in “Umbrella” as the words have a very definite bounce to them. “dachshund” is a great example of rhyme, with ending words being “ring,” “string,” “air,” and “hair,” while emotion and sound are strong in “Weeping Willow” with alliteration of both “s” and “w” throughout the poem: “In a far field of sadness stands the wee widow weeping.” While each of the nineteen poems represents different poetic elements on their own, the illustrations engage a deeper understanding of the words and meaning of the poems themselves. The illustrations, done by Lisa Desimini in mixed media, are done in a way to resemble the poem, such as the words in “Winter” trickling down the page like snow, or the words in both “Dachshund” and “Giraffe” being in the shapes of the animals the poems are describing. Lewis and Desimini’s talents combine in Doodle Dandies: Poems That Take Shape to create an excellent compilation of a variety of concrete poems that are guaranteed to please.
“The interplay between words and pictures effectively conjures images from seasons, to sports, to the jungle. From endpaper to doodled endpaper, this mix of clever language and visual delights makes a dandy treat for all ages.”
- Publishers Weekly
“Lewis, who has long been a master of a variety of poetic forms, has created an inventive collection of concrete poems….Doodle Dandies captures the joy that wordplay can bring. It deserves a place on every library shelf.”
- School Library Journal
“A dandy way indeed to begin a journey to poetry.”
v Mockingbird Award, 1999-2000; Nominee; Texas
v Prarie Pasque Award, 2001; Nominee; South Dakota
v Young Hoosier Book Award, 1999-2000; Nominee; Picture Books K-3; Indiana
Questions to Ask Before Reading
What makes something a poem instead of just a story?
When you think of a poem, what does it look like?
Have you ever heard of a concrete poem? If not, what does that phrase make you think of?
Suggestions for Reading Aloud
Groups - Since “Creep and Slither” is one of the longest poems in Doodle Dandies, have children separate into five groups and have each group read one full sentence of the poem.
Call and Response – Divide the group into groups and have each group and have each group take turns reading a line of “Mirror” each.
Jump Rope Rhyme – The rhyme and rhythm of “Dachshund” make the perfect jump rope rhyme. Have children say the poem aloud as each child jumps rope.
Follow Up Activities
v Let children select a poem from another age appropriate poetry book and ask them to create a concrete poem that would represent the meaning of the poem of their choice.
v J. Patrick Lewis’ Doodle Dandies: Poems That Take Shape includes “first burst of spring” and “winter.” Have children create their own concrete poems for the other two seasons, fall and summer.
v “Umbrella” describes in a riddle the two different forms that an umbrella has depending on whether or not it is folded up. Have children think of another item that has different forms (such as water) and create a riddle about it. Read them aloud and see if the group can solve the riddle.
v Discuss “Halley’s Comet” in conjunction with lessons on space and comets. Further discuss what Halley’s Comet is made out of and what it means for it to be a periodic comet. Have the children plot out the path of Halley’s Comet and approximate where it is today.
v Read “The Oyster Family” and discuss how a pearl is made. Are there such things as oysters that are boys or girls, or dads and moms?
v Read “How Many Humps” and discuss the differences between a dromedary and Bactrian camel. Discuss their scientific classification. What are the benefits of having humps? Do Dromedary or Bactrian camels occur more than another? Are they specific to regions?
v After reading “Halley’s Comet,” have children calculate how old they will be in 2061. Have them calculate how old they would be the next time Halley’s Comet appeared 75 years after 2061.
v Read “Skyscraper” and have children figure out how many feet, inches, and centimeters 102 stories converts too, assuming one story to be 10 feet. Go outside and mark off 1020 feet and see if anyone can run the distance in the 37 seconds it takes for the elevator to get all the way down.
Related Web Sites and Blogs
J. Patrick Lewis: Children’s Poet and Author
Explore this vast resource for information on Lewis’ collection of books, if Lewis is coming to your area, and previous interviews on the author by children and publications.
Poetry for Children
This blog is a valuable resource for anyone involved with children and poetry not only for the many links to children’s poets, but also for the up-to-date information on newly published poetry books for a variation of ages, information on award winning books, as well as poetry activities and archives that are clearly organized and titled.
Just as J. Patrick Lewis uses concrete poems to breathe new life into poetry, Giggle Poetry manages to do the same thing with humor. With fill-in-the-blank poems that resemble madlibs and a wide variety of topic specific poems such as animal, family, school, and silly poems, Giggle Rhymes is another great way to instill a love for poetry in children.
*Other Books Using Concrete Poetry
Burg, Brad and Rebecca Gibbon. Outside the Lines. ISBN
Franco, Besty. A Curious Collection of Cats. ISBN 1582462488.
Franco, Betsy. A Dazzling Display of Dogs. ISBN 1582463433.
Graham, Joan Bransfield. Splish Splash. ISBN 0618111239.
Grandits, John. Blue Lipstick. ISBN 0618851321.
Grandits, John. Technically, It’s Not My Fault. ISBN 0618503617.
Janeczko, Paul B. A Poke in the Eye: A Collection of Concrete
Poems. ISBN 0763623768.
Roemer, Heidi. Come to My Party and Other Shape Poems. ISBN
Sidman, Joyce. Meow Ruff: A Story in Concrete Poetry. ISBN
*Other Poetry Books by J. Patrick Lewis
Please Bury Me in the Library. ISBN 0152163875
A Hippopotamusn’t. ISBN 0803705182.
The House. ISBN 1568462018.
Countdown to Summer: A Poem for Everyday of the School Year. ISBN 0316020893.
Under the Kisstletoe: Christmas Time Poems. ISBN 0316020893.
The Swan Song: Poems of Extinction. ISBN 1568461755.
Once Upon a Tomb: Gravely Humorous Verses. ISBN 0763618373.
The World’s Greatest: Poems. ISBN 0811851303.
Text from Doodle Dandies: poems that take shape by J. Patrick Lewis. Published by Antheneum Books for young readers, new york. All right reserved.