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Children's Poetry
Home | Poet Study: Karla Kuskin | Karla's Poems (two favorites) | More Poems by Karla | More Kuskin Poems | Even More Kuskin Poems | Kuskin Bibliography | Kuskin References (& more) | Poetry Breaks - Module 1 | Poetry Break # 1 | Poetry Break # 2 | Poetry Break # 3 | Poetry Breaks: #4, #5 | Module 2 | Poetry Break # 6 | Poetry Break # 7 | Poetry Break: #8 | Poetry Break # 9 | Poetry Break # 10 | Module 3 | Poetry Break # 11 | Poetry Break # 12 | Poetry Break # 13 | Poetry Break # 14 | Poetry Break # 15 | Module 4 | Poetry Break # 16 | Poetry Break # 17 | Poetry Break # 18 | Poetry Break # 19 | Poetry Break # 20 | Module 5 | Poetry Break # 21 | Poetry Break # 22 | Poetry Break # 23 | Poetry Break # 24 | Poetry Break # 25 | Module 6 | Poetry Break # 26 | Poetry Break # 27 | Poetry Break # 28 | Poetry Break # 29 | Poetry Break # 30 | Bibliography (1) | Bibliography (2)
Poetry Break # 9

Interesting Facts: Born in N.Y.C., Florian was the son of an artist. He grew up watching his father paint landscapes in Cape Cod and Long Island. He credits his love for nature to these early years. Before he became a children's writer, he was a cartoonist. One day, he picked up a children's poetry book at a flea market, and he decided to write some poems of his own.  This began his successful career!

Poetry Break # 9:  A Favorite Poem by Douglas Florian

 

Introduction: Ask students to raise their hands if they have ever seen dogs wearing clothes. Invite a few children to describe the clothes. Next, ask if students  have ever wondered what other animals would look like wearing clothes.

 

Elephant Pants

 

I feel that all the elephants

Should have to wear a pair of pants.

It's almost offensive to my eye

To see these naked beasts go by.

That wolverines walk in the nude

Strikes me as being very rude.

And I would wish a polar bear

Equip itself with underwear.

For goodness' sake, I think its best

That hooded cobras wear a vest.

And don't you think a boar looks

  better

Inside a pink acrylic sweater?

I'd love to see a nanny goat

Put on a warm Afghani coat.

And couldn't bulls of every breed

Slip into wooly suits of tweed?

Why not insist that spiders sport

A pair of smart Bermuda shorts?

I think we all have had enough

Of barracudas in the buff.

For beast of every shape and size,

The time is now - so customize!

 

Taken from Bing Bang Boing: Poems and Drawings by Douglas Florian. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1994, p. 130. ISBN: 0152337709.

 

Extension: a) Break students into groups, and ask them to illustrate different parts of the poem. Post the illustrations and read the poem as a class. b) Ask students to extend the poem by thinking of other animals and what clothes they might wear. Ask students to put their answers in a rhyme. For example, I'd love to see a butterfly...Wear a jacket and a tie. c) Pair this poem with Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing by Judi Barrett. Ask several students to debate the two sides: Should animals wear clothing, or should they stay the way they are because they will look foolish in clothes (as suggested by Barrett).

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