A Stick is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play, by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
This hill is small.
The grass feels fluffy.
Mama says it’s called a knoll.
We’re glad our clothes
are old and scruffy.
When we go down,
we never stroll —
As you probably know, I am committed to non-electronic pastimes for children and especially unstructured play outdoors. Today’s poem comes from a book of poems all about outdoor play, so of course I love it!
Marilyn Singer’s poems are happy, brief, snatches that capture the abandonment, energy, imagination, and delights intrinsic to old-fashioned outside fun. Swinging and hanging upside down from the monkey bars, jumping rope and rolling down a grassy hill, walking
ever so carefully along the edge of a curb, making soup out of seed pods and mud — priceless activities, yet mostly free of charge; awakening body and soul and mind rather than dulling them. I love the subject matter and the simple joy in each poem, as well as the variety in style and formatting.
LeUyen Pham’s illustrations are always gorgeous. These are done in pencil and ink, with digital color in summer-y sunlit greens and evening dusky purples. Every page bursts with joy! Happy, playful children of multiple races, in urban and rural settings, leap and dash and splash and squat and somersault, thoroughly enjoying freedom and friendship.
It’s a small collection, readable in just one sitting, and just dandy for preschoolers and up. Read some poetry, and be inspired to unplug, power off, exit game, and get moving in the great outdoors.
Here’s an Amazon link:A Stick Is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play
This week, the Poetry Friday round-up is hosted by Laura Salas at Writing the World for Kids, so visit her page to find lots of links to more poetry and ideas than you can wrap your mind around!