Poetry Box review: Jo van Dam’s T Is for Tuatara: Amazing Animals from A to Z (with popUP challenge)

T Is for Tuatara: Amazing animals from A to Z, Jo van Dam, illust. by Deborah Hinde, PictureBook Publishing, 2021

So few poetry books for children get published in Aotearoa! The arrival of a new one is a celebration day for me. Jo Van Dam’s previous book, Doggy Ditties from A to Z, gained many fans. Her new book assembles a collection of ditties that give life to “weird and wonderful creatures”. The animals include some I am not familiar with (from dugongs, to zebu to numbats) and some I am (from the kiwi, to rhinoceros, to skunks). Each page has fascinating facts as well as the poem. The exquisite illustrations add further layers of fascination.

At the back of the book are extra facts about the creatures, quiz questions and tips for writing poems. Jo’s poems brim with fun and beg to be read aloud. She loves playing with rhyme. There is rhyme at the end of the line: Dr Seuss kind of rhyme and words that almost rhyme. There is alliteration and there is rhyme hiding along the line. There are short lines and there are longer lines. All these devices (things you choose to do when writing a poem) add up to a feast of sound. Here is one poem. Have a read and see if your ears can hear what the poem does with sound:

Ee – emu

There once was an emu named Eve,
Who dined on small reptiles and leaves.
She swallowed a lizard
Which stuck in her gizzard
now Eve prefers fruit, bark and seeds.

I love all the ducking and diving and dancing sounds in this poem!

POP-UP Challenge: I challenge you to choose a letter, a quirky animal and write a little poem. Listen hard to every line. Try tricky rhyme. Try Dr Seuss rhyme. Try hiding rhyme. Try salt and pepper alliteration (sprinkled through poem).

Deadline: Tuesday 14th December
Include: Name, age, year, name of school
Don’t forget to put ANIMAL POEM in the subject line so I don’t miss your email.
I will pick one poet to give a copy of the book to. Will post some favourite poems on Wednesday or Thursday.

1 thought on “Poetry Box review: Jo van Dam’s T Is for Tuatara: Amazing Animals from A to Z (with popUP challenge)

  1. Pingback: Poetry Box celebrates new books: Favourite animal poems | Poetry Box

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