Pages

Thursday, June 8, 2017

READ ME A RHYME, PLEASE


      The excerpt below is from the Introduction to Read Me a Rhyme, Please, published by Humanics Learnng in 2006.  Of the three activity books I assembled, based on my mother Ernestine Cobern Beyer’s poems for children, this final one has proved to be the most sought out – and bought – on Amazon.  Three cheers for my talented mom, Ernestine Cobern Beyer! 
Figures of Speech   
     Siblilance occurs when words starting with an "s" or "z" make a hissing sound.  Sometimes the s's and z's  are in the middle of these hissing words.  For example, some sliced apples sizzled in the saucepan.  Children can remember what sibilance is if they think of "hissing snakes slithering away through the sand."      
     An internal rhyme is a rhyme inside of a rhyme.  For example, note that the poem below is full of internal rhymes, starting with the first line.

                                 The Bargain
     One day, when strolling slowly (I am rather roly‑poly), 
     Something happened ‑‑ the most magical of things!
     I met a tiny creature with a most amazing feature ‑‑
           An attractive pair of polka‑dotted wings.

   With a gasp we couldn't smother, we stood staring at each other
          And I noticed that she seemed to like my hat.          
 "Deary me!" I heard her mutter, "I would surely cause a flutter
              If the fairies ever saw me wearing that!

    Her look was wistful, very, so I murmured to the fairy
          Who observed me with so envious a stare,    
 "I can see you like my bonnet.  Since your heart is set upon it,
        I will trade if for the pretty wings you wear!"
  
 Response was never prompter!  She tried my hat.  It swamped her!
           My, oh my, the cunning picture that she made!
 My bonnet made her stagger, but she staggered with a swagger,
            So I knew she was delighted with the trade.

 With her wings upon my shoulder, "Well, goodbye," I softly told her,
           And I waited till she vanished in the sun.
Then not the least bit fearful, but quite confident and cheerful,
           I flew homeward to astonish everyone!
                                                                                    Leo Harrington
      A simile compares two things that are quite different from each other.  The words "like" or "as" usually come before a simile.   For example, "My pillow was as soft and fluffy as a cloud," or  "My pillow was like a soft white cloud."  In the poem "Thunderbolt," Ernestine tells us the colt "has ears like question marks."
     A metaphor also compares two unlike things, but in a more direct way.  For example, "My pillow was a soft white cloud that carried me to Dreamland."  The poet's happy haberdasher wore "a chimney of hats" on his head.  To change this metaphor to a simile, the poet would use the words "like" or "as":  "The hat was like a chimney," or "The hat was as tall as a chimney."
    Personification is a metaphor with a special twist.  The poet pretends that things around us are able to talk and act like people.  In "The First Crocus," personification describes the end of winter and the beginning of spring.  Instead of saying "snow covered the ground," Ernestine paints a poetic word picture: "Winter's cloak of fleecy white concealed the ground."
    Next, she describes a daring little crocus that "appeared above the snow and looked around."  Then "Lovely April whispered softly, `Coming soon.'"  A month can't really whisper, and a crocus can't look around, but our poet pretends they can by using personification.
     Hyperbole uses exaggeration—sometimes awesome exaggeration—to make a point.  In "Mike and I," the twins are so much alike that "when Mike eats too much pie or cake, I often get his stomach-ache."  In another poem, Sammy's mother uses hyperbole when she says, "I'll just pull your tooth—then the whole world will shout:  "How brave is young Samuel Smotherby Sprout!"   Perhaps the whole family will shout, but the whole world???
                                       
                        SAMUEL SMOTHERBY SPROUT                   
                       
                                                        Samuel stood in his mother's firm clutch.
                                                 "Don't wriggle!" she said; "It won't hurt very much!
                                            I'll just pull your tooth ‑‑ then the whole world will shout:
                                                  How brave is young Samuel Smotherby Sprout!'"

                                                 "I can be brave," Sammy whimpered.  "I can!
                                                    I'm Samuel Sprout, and I'm almost a man!
                                                I'll hold back the tears, and I won't even blink,
                                                       `Cause I am a very big boy, I think!"
                                                                             Leo Harrington
                                                   
                               One yank, then the tooth (what a small pearly thing!)
                                     Happily swung from the end of the string;
                                Samuel grinned.  "Now the whole world will shout:
                             `How brave ith young Thamuel Thmitherby Thprout!'"
                                                      
Questions About the Poem. Check the right answer.
1.  Samuel's mother held him firmly so she could
    ___a.  pull his tooth.
    ___b.  brush his hair.
    ___c.  zip up his jacket.

2.  Samuel whimpered,
    ___a.  "Can't we do this tomorrow?"
    ___b.  "I'm going to cry."
    ___c.  "I can be brave!"

3.  The tooth was
    ___a.  a small pearly thing.
    ___b.  hard to pull out.
    ___c.  Samuel's favorite tooth.

4.  After one yank, Samuel's tooth
    ___a.  landed under his pillow.
    ___b.  hit the ceiling.
    ___c.  swung from the end of a string.

5.  "Think" rhymes with
    ___a.  thank.
    ___b.  blink.
    ___c.  sing.

Special question:  After his tooth was pulled, why did Samuel  call himself Thamuel Thmitherby Thprout?

Another Figure of Speech
     At the end of this book is a mini‑dictionary that lists alphabetically a number of words, many of which will doubtless be unfamiliar to young children.  When they ask the meaning of a particular word in a poem, you can either define it for them or say, "Let's see if it's in the mini‑dictionary."  Encourage beginning readers to look for meanings in a real dictionary.
    Also at the end of the book is a condensed review of figures of speech.  Even very young children can become acquainted with terms like personification, alliteration, and sibilance, according to their level of interest and aptitude.  They will enjoy recognizing these terms and learning what it takes to be a poet like Ernestine —imagination and a sense of fun. 
   Hyperbole uses exaggeration—sometimes awesome exaggeration—to make a point.  
     Children, as well as poets, often use hyperbole: "This rainy day is never going to end!"

     Grandparents don't for a minute believe they are using hyperbole when they say: "I have the most wonderful grandchildren that were ever born!" 
Concerning dictionaries:
     Ernestine didn't believe in talking down to children. She was convinced they had minds like sponges that absorbed many new words simply through repetition.  Moreover, she believed it was never too soon to introduce youngsters to the concept of a dictionary. 
     At the end of this book is a mini‑dictionary that lists alphabetically a number of words, many of which will doubtless be unfamiliar to young children.  When they ask the meaning of a particular word in a poem, you can either define it for them or say, "Let's see if it's in the mini‑dictionary."  
     Also at the end of the book is a condensed review of figures of speech.  Even very young children can become acquainted with terms like personification, alliteration, and sibilance, according to their level of interest and aptitude.  They will enjoy recognizing these terms and learning what it takes to be a poet like Ernestine —imagination and a sense of fun. 
     To find more of Ernestine's enchanting poems, click on labels Playful Poems for  Children and  Pleasing Poems for Adults.

No comments:

Post a Comment