Poesy and Posies: Fancy Nancy Poet Extraordinaire by Jane O'Connor
I think poetry is sensational. (That's fancy for terrific.)
Even the word poetry sounds so beautiful and fancy to me.
Poetry Month is upon us, and of course Nancy's teacher, that pedagogue who is always in vogue, is up to the minute with her lesson plans for a poetry unit. Nancy is in her glory. After all, with a rhyming name like Nancy Clancy, she should be a natural as a poet, right?
But even with beautiful soft music, a glittery new notebook and plumed pen, and bouquets of blooms surrounding Nancy, the Muse does NOT visit the Poetry Palace, Nancy's backyard bard's bower. Her mom suggests a bubble bath with bon-bons and lots of musing with eyes closed, but Nancy emerges with only prune-y fingers to show for her sudsy inspirational session.
Meanwhile, the class POET-TREE on the bulletin board is growing and budding with "leaves" of poems contributed by her other classmates. Robert earns Ms. Glass's praise for his two liner,
Peter eats a
Lot of pizza.
"Robert, I like how your first line put two words together to rhyme with pizza. Did you know that two lines of poetry are called a couplet?" she writes. Friend Bree turns out to be a fluent writer of free verse, and Clara constructs an acrostic poem based on her name. Nancy interviews her family and neighbor Mrs. DeVine about their favorite poems and re-reads her own funny favorites, but inspiration, that angel of lyricism, fails to find her.
Ms. Glass diagnoses Nancy's problem as writer's block and reminds her that poems don't have to rhyme or follow any special form. She tries to boost her confidence by reminding her, "You are a creative girl. I'm sure you'll write a wonderful poem."
Grateful for her teacher's encouragement, Nancy decides to write Ms. Glass a special poem which ends with an enthusiastic triplet:
If I have any troubles,
They pop like bubbles
When I go talk to Ms. Glass.
"An ODE! How fancy!" her teacher says!
Jane O'Connor's latest, Fancy Nancy: Poet Extraordinaire! (Harper, 2010) works in plenty of fancy words from the discipline of poesy--limerick, anthology, rhyme and rhythm--which make this little book an excellent way to begin a primary grade unit on poetry. O'Connor's POET-TREE is an inspirational idea worth appropriating for any classroom (or home fridge, for that matter), with the trunk and main branches formed of light brown construction paper with the favorite poems of family, friends, and classmates and the "leaves" fashioned from the students' own poems. A poem a day is great anytime, but during April it's a sensational place to start.