Kick off National Poetry Month in April with Jill Esbaum’s Stanza, a picture book about a versifying dog.
During the day, “Stanza prowled through the streets with his two rotten brothers, annoying and chasing and bullying others.” At night he secretly writes poetry.
When his brothers discover his passion, they ridicule him—until Stanza wins a tasty prize in a poetry contest.
The description of Stanza’s efforts to create a jingle for the contest demonstrates the importance of revising work to make it as good as it can be.
“He scribbled and scrawled.
He wadded up papers.
He scoured his thesaurus.
He struggled for rhymes.
He started from scratch at least eighty-two times.”
This rhyming story can encourage any kind of creative endeavor, because Stanza persuades his brothers to unleash their own artistic sides. The book ends with one playing the piano and the other painting pictures.
Dee Anderson is the author of Reading Is Funny!: Motivating Kids to Read with Riddles (ALA Editions, 2009)