Feb 7, 2012

Dear Hot Dog. Poems About Everyday Stuff

Dear Hot Dog by Mordicai Gerstein
Illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein
Published by Abrams

     Dear Hot Dog is a collection of poems about everyday items and experiences.  The collection starts with poems related to the early hours of the day, getting dressed, brushing your teeth, having breakfast.  Among this first group of poems, my favorite is Shoes:
You swallow my feet
for breakfast.
You love to run
and though I'm fast
you always
want to run faster
and faster.
Do you wish I were a horse?
Do you want to be
when you grow up?
     The middle group of poems concentrates on topics like playing outdoors (Kite, Air, Water), snacks (Hot Dog, Ice-Cream Cone), and the weather (Summer Sun, Leaves, Rain). There are some great images in those verses:
Where I imitate dolphins
and sharks till I flop
on the hot concrete
and you lick
me dry  (from Summer Sun) 
Wash away
the ordinary,
everyday world,
and in your flooded
gutters, I'll sail off
in my newspaper boat
to the land of mossy
rocks and gigantic ferns (from Rain)
     The final group of poems, include nighttime topics: Bear (about a teddy bear), Light, and Pillow.
Where do you go
when its dark?
Back into lightbulbs

      Dear Hot Dog will be a good introduction to poetry for the younger readers and early elementary classrooms.  It includes familiar topics and accessible text and offers a great opportunity to have students create their own odes to everyday objects (and you might as well throw in some of  Pablo Neruda's odes...his ode to the artichoke is one of my favorites).  The illustrations by Caldecott Medal Winner Mordicai Gerstein will delight readers who will find themselves reflected in one of the pages of the multicultural children.

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