Image from the book

Image from the book

Image from the book

Image from the book

Image from the book

Is it hard to write poetry? In an old barn, a girl sits at a table and writes poems. She notices the rooster and the weather vane and how, in unexpected ways, they have much in common. She writes about writing poetry. It's not easy! Finally, in the late-night silence, "a small gray verse runs squeaking down one of the rafters/just as the moon floats in through the double barn door." Discover fourteen extraordinary poems about the world around us – and the world within our imaginations – exquisitely illustrated with dreamlike images by a master painter.

From Booklist, March 5, 1999 A Starred Review

In this picture book of poetry for older children, the first poem sets up the frame-work for an interwoven series of poems, all written by a little girl: "Right here/ on this/ clean/ white page/ I'll scatter some words, / watch them grow...I'll build me a barn./ Lay the lines out straight and/ raise the roof! Write here." The next poem is about a barn, the next deals with the rooster weather vane on the barn roof, the next is about a real rooster. Judiciously sprinkled through the book are poems reflecting the poet's view, as in "poem about Rabbit": "I am writing a poem/ about/ rabbit./ A pink-eyed poem/ that watches/ from/ the edges of the page,/ that nibbles/ at the/ corners/ of my mind." Minor's paintings capture the duality, showing in careful, realistic detail the animals and landscapes referred to in the poems. He incorporates a piece of paper into each picture with the words of the poem written on it, and uses occasional whimsical details ö for example, a sharpened pencil in the poet of the scarecrow's overall. Always, the poet is present in the picture. Fortunately, Schertle and Minor are so gifted at their respective skills that the effect is seamless and uncontrived, and the reader is enlight-ened by the unexpected connections and unusual points of view. Children will see the ordinary with new eyes and may even be drawn to put their own perspectives on paper.

From PUBLISHERS WEEKLY - A starred review:

This thoughtful book of poems celebrates the creative process. A girl with a pen in hand - and a computer mouse as well as the furry, whiskered variety close by - sits in a barn writing poetry at a desk; this image frames the collection, which follows the writer from morning to night, closing with "a poem about a barn" where not only bales of hay but "stanzas/are/stacked/to the ceiling." ...Many of the poems offer an invitation to view the world more closely; a mole says "Come on down...taste dirt/on the tip of your tongue...wrap yourself in darkness/see/what you're missing." ...Minor's illustrations neatly combine fidelity to nature with emblems of writing. ...Those who discover this elegantly written, deftly illustrated book will count themselves lucky indeed.


A book that's filled with both rhyming and free verse to inspire children's senses of observation. The 13 selections are loosely connected by the first and last poems written in the voice of the poet as she sits in her barn and observes the sounds and smells and movements of the world around her. ... Several poems are sure to be favorites of those who celebrate the creative process. "Poem About Rabbit" is "A pink-eyed poem/that watches/from the/edges/of the page/that nibbles/at the/corners/of my mind." "Head Full of Turtle" gives new meaning to writers block. Minor's bright watercolor paintings fill the pages with warmth and humor. Children will love looking for symbols of writing in each of the pictures. A terrific choice for reading aloud to younger children and for encouraging upper-elementary graders to write about their worlds.


The author's keen observation of the natural world matched with her creative ability results in a delightful group of poems. "Right here on this clean white page, I'll scatter some words and watch them grow..." And sure enough we get to do just that with Minor's beautiful paintings.

-National Parenting Publication Award
-A Child Magazine Best Book of the Year

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