Comets and Stars


Here’s a thing. We got the first of the kid poetry books I ordered in a fit of guilt a week or so ago. It was Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars: Space Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian.

The artwork is really cool – vivid with a nice earthy palette, interspersed with medieval astronomy-related imagery and interesting to a child in a grabbing petroglyphy kind of way. The poems are a bit cheesy (sorry, Douglas) and elementary in a very one-layered kind of way (think top-end General Forum, maybe). I flipped through the book when it first arrived, and admit that, overall, I wasn’t too excited about reading it with Whale Child. It has a poem apiece for the earth, the moon, the galaxies, our solar system (with a special nod to the demoted planet), etc.

Surprise. He loved it. First, the pieces’ very marked dimeter, trimeter or tetrameter (nothing longer, obviously). He insisted I mark time with my hand as I read. And then, he seemed to really love the sounds independently of their meaning. He cracked up (literally) when I read such simple alliteration as: Jupiter’s jumbo/Gigantic and it’s plainly prolific.

Reminds me of how at the same age his older brother collapsed laughing when I read him a story that had the word “silver spikes” in it.

So my question is: How come no-one made laugh with stupid sounds when I was six?

Or maybe they did and I’ve just forgotten.

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Nic Sebastian

Nic is the author of Forever Will End On Thursday and Dark And Like A Web. She founded the now-archived Whale Sound site and is co-founder of The Poetry Storehouse. Nic blogs at Very Like A Whale and Voice Alpha.

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