OK, I swear I double-checked to make sure this title was not yet nominated for a Cybils. That’s my goal, to spread the word about some un-nominated poetry collections in the hopes that people will check out the books and someone will like them enough to nominate them.
I suppose I was predisposed to enjoy Oh, Theodore! Guinea Pig Poems (by Susan Katz, illustrated by Stacey Schuett, Clarion, 2007) because we have a guinea pig.
Here’s our very own Muffin, being fed yogurt (which she loves) when she had a slight illness.
But I think I would have liked it anyway. This is a collection of free verse poems for very young kids. That’s not very common. Most poetry for preschool and primary grade kids is rhythmic and rhyming. That’s fine–they love rhythm and rhyme! But it’s also great for kids to see that not all poetry has to rhyme. It makes poetry much less intimidating for them when they want to try writing their own. And it saves us all from countless poems about the power of the flower, etc. It’s one of the things I love about Kristine O’Connell George’s Little Dog Poems and Little Dog and Duncan, too.
So this collection of poems is about a boy who gets a pet guinea pig, Theodore. Theodore is shy, and the poems follow the building-up of trust and affection between boy and pig. It’s so cute! It made me laugh out loud in several places, especially poems that focus on how noisy guinea pigs are (it’s true!). Theodore also gets loose, which adds some tension to the story arc.
Here’s just one poem I really like:
the kitchen door.
the cupboard door.
the refrigerator door.
Here comes Theodore!
And here’s one more:
the grocery bag.
He travels inside it
across the floor,
a turtle with
a brown paper shell.
Share this book with a young pet-lover in your house or classroom. And if you love the book, please consider nominating it for a Cybils.