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Children's Poetry
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Poetry Break # 20

A Poem That Can Be Matched with a Book of Nonfiction

Introduction: Tell students that in many animal species, the father helps care for babies. One example is giant water bugs that live in ponds all across North America.  The mother water bug releases her eggs on the father’s back, and she releases a gluey substance that makes the eggs stick. From then on, it’s up to the father to care for the one hundred or more eggs. It takes twelve days for the eggs to hatch.  The following poem describes a father water bug’s busy day.

 

Egg Business

 

Busy, busy:

I’ve got eggs.

Real tight schedule:

I’ve got eggs.

Up at dawn

to clean the eggs.

Deep-knee bends

to rinse the eggs.

Swim up top

to warm the eggs.

Dive down fast

to hide the eggs.

Sit in sun

to dry the eggs.

 

Life is tough

when you’ve got eggs.

Sometimes all I see are eggs!

heavy, tickly, twisty eggs.

Squirmy, wormy,

   hatching eggs.

Swimming, scooting,

   scramming eggs.

 

Empty eggs.

What to do?

 

Need more eggs.

 

Poem by Joyce Sidman from Just Us Two: Poems about Animal Dads. Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press, Inc., 2000, unpaged. ISBN: 0761315632.

 

Extension a) Pair this poem with the following nonfiction book: Hey Daddy! Animal Fathers and Their Babies by Marry Batten. There is a section on giant water bugs in this book. Your students also will want to read about all the other animal fathers that help with child rearing. (Citation: Batten, Mary. Hey Daddy! Animal Fathers and Their Babies. Illustrated by Higgins Bond. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 2002. ISBN: 1561452726.) b) If students show interest, divide them into groups and have each group gather additional information about a different animal father.