Tag Archives: lee bennett hopkins

First Poetry Tea of the Year

Since we took our break in September, we have only just started school and are finding our way into the groove.  It turned out that BalletBoy had forgotten a frightening amount of math, which reminded me why we often don’t take that full month of break all at once.  Still, a week later, he seems to have relearned most of it, so no harm no foul.

I’m pleased to say we’re back with Brave Writer style poetry teas.  In the spirit of fall, the first one featured pumpkin chocolate chip scones.  I wasn’t that impressed with the recipe, but the kids gobbled them up, though I think that may be more about the fact that a pile of pumpkin, sugar and butter topped with a bit of chocolate is a no brainer for kids to like.  In the spirit of continued summer weather, we also had lemonade.


We had two new collections from the library that I really liked at this poetry tea, both of them edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins.  He has been by far my favorite children’s poet discovery since we started poetry teas.  I especially like his selections for children’s collections, but we loved his poetry in City I Love, which amidst all the children’s nature poems felt like a great find for us city folk.  For this poetry tea, we enjoyed his selected Carl Sandburg book, Rainbows are Made, and a collection of poems about inventions called Incredible Inventions.  In the past, we’ve really liked My America, Wonderful Words, Behind the Museum Door, and Oh No! Where Are My Pants?  At this point, I think I’d trust any collection he created as just right for poetry teas reading.

 Review of the Day: City I Love by Lee Bennett HopkinsRainbows Are Made: Poems by Carl SandburgIncredible InventionsMy America: A Poetry Atlas of the United StatesBehind the Museum Door: Poems to Celebrate the Wonders of MuseumsWonderful Words: Poems About Reading, Writing, Speaking and ListeningOh, No! Where Are My Pants? and Other Disasters: Poemss stuck Review of The Presidents Stuck in the Bathtub: Poems about the Presidents

The Husband joined us as well and, political junkie he is, was drawn to The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub by Susan Katz, a collection of poems about the presidents.  It ended up being the only thing he read from.  He was clearly delighted by the silliness of it.


Sometimes I do feel frustrated that we rarely get to poems with a deeper meaning or classic poems and poets.  However, seeing the kids really enjoy and look forward to poetry and think poetry is a good thing is a goal in and of itself.  Baked goods certainly don’t hurt and nor does letting everyone practice their reading aloud skills.  And occasionally I get a good one in.  I read “Arithmetic” by Carl Sandburg and I think they related to it, especially BalletBoy to the line about when you get it wrong, you have to start all over again.

“Arithmetic” by Carl Sandburg

Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and out of your head.

Arithmetic tells you how many you lose or win if you know how many you had before you lost or won.

Arithmetic is seven eleven all good children go to heaven – or five six bundle of sticks.

Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your head to your hand to your pencil to your paper till you get the answer.

Arithmetic is where the answer is right and everything is nice and you can look out of the window and see the blue sky — or the answer is wrong and you have to start all over and try again and see how it comes out this time.

If you take a number and double it and double it again and then double it a few more times, the number gets bigger and bigger and goes higher and higher and only arithmetic can tell you what the number is when you decide to quit doubling.

Arithmetic is where you have to multiply — and you carry the multiplication table in your head and hope you won’t lose it.

If you have two animal crackers, one good and one bad, and you eat one and a striped zebra with streaks all over him eats the other, how many animal crackers will you have if somebody offers you five six seven and you say No no no and you say Nay nay nay and you say Nix nix nix?

If you ask your mother for one fried egg for breakfast and she gives you two fried eggs and you eat both of them, who is better in arithmetic, you or your mother?