Monarch's Progress: Poems with Wings

Monarch's Progress: Poems with Wings

by Avis Harley
     
 

A masterful collection by the author of Fly With Poetry and Sea Stars. Why are butterflies so universally loved? Is it the dazzling colors in exquisite winged art? Is it our reaction to amazing feats of flight? Is it the miracle of change that fascinates us—that wonderful metamorphosis from tiny egg to brilliant insect? Avis Harley explores these questions and

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Overview

A masterful collection by the author of Fly With Poetry and Sea Stars. Why are butterflies so universally loved? Is it the dazzling colors in exquisite winged art? Is it our reaction to amazing feats of flight? Is it the miracle of change that fascinates us—that wonderful metamorphosis from tiny egg to brilliant insect? Avis Harley explores these questions and the many others that have captivated humans throughout history. Eighteen structured poems—haikus, tanka, sonnets, villanelles, and other forms—examine how monarch butterflies taste with their feet, migrate 2500 miles every year, and cover entire forest groves when they rest. A Small Matters section at the back explains the fact and science in the poems refer.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
This collection of 18 illustrated poems celebrates butterflies in general and monarchs in particular. Cleverly written with obvious attention to craft, the poetry varies in form from rhymed couplets to acrostic verse to haiku and explores topics such as the physical differences between the larval and adult stages, the way monarch wings look when magnified, and the usefulness of having taste sensors in one's feet. Accompanying each poem is a color-pencil drawing, often featuring precise lines and intense hues. This book would more effective when used at the end of a school unit on butterflies rather than at the beginning, as the more children know about monarchs, the better they will understand the verse. However, plenty is explained on the appended pages of notes, where each picture is reproduced in miniature beside a paragraph or two of information pertinent to the poem it illustrates. This attractive poetry collection could be useful in either the science or language-arts curriculum.
—Carolyn Phelan
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
The metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly—in this case, a monarch—has been the subject of many books. In her eighteen poems, Harley provides considerable information about the life of these creatures. Also, she uses the subject as an opportunity to teach a poetry lesson—her work includes haiku, sonnet, limericks, and other poetic forms. One of the more successful examples is her series of acrostic poems relating to the four stages of a monarch's life. Other forms are also intriguing; for example, the concrete zigzag shape of "Catching a Butterfly1" really does remind you of the crazy path butterflies seem to take. The abecedarian poem "Wintering Over" does take some poetic license when it uses "X-odus" for the letter "X," but it is still quite a clever poem. In addition to the poetry, Harley has created the illustrations, which are reprised as thumbnails on the final pages to provide even more details about monarchs. There is plenty here for parents and teachers, whether they are seeking science, poetry or just the pure pleasure of reading about an appealing subject—monarch butterflies. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6

"The butterfly was there/before any human art was made." Harley celebrates the beauty and life cycle of monarchs in 18 poems written in a variety of forms and illustrated with realistic, sometimes impressionistic, colored-pencil drawings. To emphasize the four stages of butterfly metamorphosis, four acrostics highlight appropriate terms spelled out in the first letter of each line of poetry ("NEW EGG," "CATERPILLAR," "CHRYALIS," and "IMAGO"). Other structures include haiku, sonnet, limerick, and a delightful abecedarian titled "Wintering Over" ("Amazing/Blazing/Clusters/Decorate/Entire/Forest/Groves...This/Unique,/Velvet-/Winged/X-odus/Yields/Zillions"). Arranged in a long sleek column, this selection is paired with a fine view of a dense cluster of monarchs in a tree in Mexico "Hanging/In/Jeweled/Kingdoms." An author's introduction comments on the structure of some of the poems and invites readers to describe a favorite butterfly in verse. Concluding notes touch back on each entry with bits of factual material about these insects and their behavior. The layout's generous white space adds inviting emphasis and clarity to both text and artwork. This collection offers versatile uses for poetry reading, writing lessons, or introducing natural-history units.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston

Kirkus Reviews
Using a variety of poetic forms and devices, Harley follows monarch butterflies through a cycle of development and migration. Sandwiched between an introduction and a closing section of comments on each poem, the 18 entries range from a ruminative sonnet on having taste receptors on one's feet ("If we would let our toes seek what we eat, / what smorgasbord would greet our eager feet?") to a haiku observation that "there are no borders / for the migrating monarchs. / It is all one land." Along with various rhyme schemes, Harley constructs several verses in which the first letters in each line spell out either the alphabet or the title: "Caterpillar" begins, "Comma-size / And worldly wise, / The tiny caterpillar arrives / Eager to feed. . . . " The painted illustrations are attractive-it's hard to portray monarchs otherwise-and accurate. Young poets and naturalists should both be drawn to this. (Poetry. 7-10)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590785584
Publisher:
Highlights Press
Publication date:
03/15/2008
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,460,005
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
7 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Avis Harley was born and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. This is her fourth book of poetry for children, the third that she has also illustrated. Leap Into Poetry: More ABCs of Poetry received the ASPCA's Henry Bergh Children's Book Poetry Honor Award.

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