Category Archives: Poetry

Happy Poetry Month

Still here – still in the library – priorities changed a little.



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Calgary Illustrator with “Retro New Yorker” Style Wins Alligator Pie Contest

Almost every April during Poetry Month, one of my library classes learns the now classic Alligator Pie by ‘Canada’s Father Goose’ Dennis Lee. It’s just so much fun to recite…

Lee’s eponymous book, originally illustrated by Frank Newfeld, turns 40 this year. To mark the occasion, HarperCollins held a contest for a published or unpublished artist to illustrate a special anniversary edition board book, to be published this fall.

The unanimous winner, announced January 16th,  is Calgary artist Sandy Nichols, graduate of Alberta College of Art and Design.

5766814Her clients include various advertising firms, magazines and corporations throughout Canada, the United States and the UK. She has also illustrated a children’s book, Starring Lorenzo and Einstein Too (Dial/Penguin 2009). Three in a Box




Read: Winner of the “Alligator Pie” Illustration Contest signs with HarperCollins Canada

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The British Library Openly Shares Images from 17th, 18th & 19th Century


Image shared from the British Library’s Flickr photostream in the Children’s Book Illustration set.


The poem is a screen shot from the downloaded PDF of the entire book shared by the British Library.

“We have released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images were taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books digitised by Microsoft who then generously gifted the scanned images to us, allowing us to release them back into the Public Domain. The images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of.” British Library Digital Scholarship Blog: A Million First Steps


To download an image from Flickr:

  • Open the image by clicking on it from the photostream or set file
  • Find the three little dots at the bottom right of the image and click on it
  • Choose “View All Sizes” from the pop-up menu
  • Click on the file size you want to download
  • Click on “Download the (x) size of this photo”

To download a PDF of the book:

  • Starting from the image on Flickr, click on the link to the book.
  • Look to the right of the record and click on “(#)Related Resources”
  • Click on “Online(#)” in the left hand sidebar
  • Click on the title
  • Choose “Digital item; opens as an Adobe PDF file” and click “GO”
  • One file downloads (can take a while), save it to your computer
Image taken from page 129 of 'Songs for Little People. [With illustrations by H. Stratton.]'

Image taken from page 129 of ‘Songs for Little People. [With illustrations by H. Stratton.]’


Filed under Art & Design, Books, Authors & Illustrators, History of Books & Libraries, Poetry, Reading

1901 Nursery Rhyme Parody Showing the Fate of Toys

Nursery Rhymes of Toyland

From Go Comics (Click)

The 1842 rhyme ~

Solomon Grundy
Born on Monday
Christened on Tuesday
Married on Wednesday
Ill on Thursday
Worse on Friday
Died on Saturday
Buried on Sunday
That is the end of Solomon Grundy.

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Curator Ponders Emily Dickinson’s Eclectic Paper Choices

Emily Dickinson, like many writers scribbled words, phrases and complete poems on a wide variety of papers. In The Manuscripts of Emily Dickinson at The Public Domain review, curator Mike Kelly considers some of the items in the collection at Archives and Special Collections of Amherst College, and wonders if the media might have inspired the message.

“The way hope builds his house”, Amherst Manuscript # 450

“In this instance, Dickinson has cut apart an envelope so all that remains are the flap and a portion of the body. She orients the paper so the point of the flap is at the top then she fills that peak with words: “The way hope builds his house…” Or, to phrase it more directly, she writes a poem about a house on a piece of paper that looks like a house.”

“To be forgot by thee”, Amherst Manuscript # 484

“…it is important to remember that Dickinson was never at a loss for paper, stamps, ink, or pencils. Her father and brother were both lawyers, a profession that depends on ample stores of paper and ink, and many of Dickinson’s extant manuscripts are on standard stationery paper. So when we come across irregular pieces such as this one, one needs to stop and think about her motives…what are we to make of the many…fragments she left behind?”

I imagine Dickinson with a small pencil perched permanently in her hair or on her ear, ready for the instant that inspiration strikes. Too terribly aware that the words must flow as they form in her mind, she did not gamble that they would still be there after scrambling to the writing desk and retrieving stationary, but scribbled them – stream of consciousness – on the nearest media at hand.

How many of those fleeting bursts of creativity have been lost for the lack of a pencil behind our ear?

“This selection of Dickinson manuscripts is merely the tip of the iceberg – all 850 discrete manuscript objects held by Amherst College are freely available online for all to explore. Our hope is that the ability to browse the collection virtually will spark new questions and new approaches to understanding one of the world’s most beloved and enigmatic poets.”

Read Mike Kelly’s full review at The Manuscripts of Emily Dickinson at the Public Domain Review.

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Suli Breaks on Education

Something to think about as school resumes here in Canada.

Suli Breaks

Resist the pressure to judge your students by their academic success. Honour that square peg who is trying to fit into the round hole of school life. Library workers are perfectly situated to try to identify interests beyond school and encourage their development.


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“Twas the Night Before Christmas” 1920 Thomas Edison Video Recording

“Heres a virtual movie of Father Christmas (Santa Claus) reading the poem by Clement Clarke Moore (1779 – 1863) “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. The poem is read definitively by Ernest Hare,and was recorded by Thomas Edison 1920″

Upload and explanation by Videocurious

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Christmas Trees, A Christmas Circular Letter, by Robert Frost

Read by Tom O’Bedlam

1 Comment

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Book Spine Poetry

Poetry books from The Blue Rose Girls

Teen books from the Halifax Public Library

From the 2010 Book Spine Poem Gallery at 100 Scope Notes

…and this one even rhymes!

from the Papertrails Family Book Blog (via 100 Scope Notes Gallery)

Click on images to link to sources.

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Nursery Rhyme Video Playlist for Poetry Month

Many more at Kid Rhymes YouTube playlist

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