About the Author
Hometown:Hingham, Massachusetts and Martha¿s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Date of Birth:November 25, 1946
Place of Birth:Erie, Pennsylvania
Education:M.F.A., Cleveland Institute of Art, 1969
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Arturo y el Concurso de Poesia / Arthur and the Poetry Contest
By Marc Tolon Brown Lectorum Publications
Copyright © 2004Marc Tolon Brown
All right reserved.
Chapter One Mr. Ratburn stood at the front of the class. He was holding a list of names. At least, it was supposed to be a list. However, there was only one name on it, which made it barely a list at all.
"There are only two days left until the library poetry contest," he told the class. "This is supposed to be the list of participants. But so far, only one student -Fern-has signed up."
Everyone turned to look at Fern. She stared at the floor.
"Fern never said she wrote poetry," Francine whispered.
"Fern never says anything," Muffy reminded her.
"Writing poetry is worse than eating snails," said Binky. "If I wrote it, I wouldn't admit it, either."
Mr. Ratburn cleared his throat. "The judge for this contest is the famous poet Jack Prelutsky. And it's still not too late to enter."
"I'm a poet and I don't even know it," said Buster.
"You've got a rhyme every time," Muffy added.
Arthur raised his hand. "I know a poem he wrote. It's called 'My Sister Is a Sissy.'"
"Can you recite it for us?" asked Mr. Ratburn.
Arthur wasn't sure. "I'll try," he said.
"My sister is a sissy, she's afraid of dogs and cats, a toad can give her tantrums, and she's terrified of rats, she screams at things with stingers, thingsthat buzz, and things that crawl, just the shadow of a spider sends my sister up the wall.
A lizard makes her shiver, and a turtle makes her squirm, she positively cringes at the prospect of a worm, she's afraid of things with feathers, she's afraid of things with fur, she's scared of almost everything - how come I'm scared of her?
"That's all," said Arthur, pleased he could remember it.
"If D.W. were my sister," Francine whispered to Muffy, "I'd be afraid of her, too."
"An excellent poem," Mr. Ratburn noted. "And speaking as someone who has a sister, I can agree with the sentiment." He sighed. "Now, I know a lot of you may not have thought much about poetry before, but it is truly one of the most powerful - and fun - literary forms. It is also one of the oldest. The Trojan War, for example, was described in a long poem by the Greek poet Homer in around 900 b.c. The poem is called 'The Iliad.'"
Binky frowned. "Isn't that the story where some soldiers hid inside a horse?"
"Exactly," said Mr. Ratburn.
"The horse was the source of the force - of course!" commented the Brain.
"You're all very talented," Mr. Ratburn continued, "which is why I'm encouraging you to enter the contest. As a special treat, Mr. Prelutsky will be speaking at the Elwood City Library after school on Thursday."
Francine nudged Arthur. "Listen, I'm a poet. Moon, June, spoon, tune - a loon."
"Will you be done soon?" Arthur asked.
"Before noon," Francine replied sweetly.
Excerpted from Arturo y el Concurso de Poesia / Arthur and the Poetry Contest by Marc Tolon Brown Copyright © 2004 by Marc Tolon Brown. Excerpted by permission.
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