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Children's Poetry

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Some favorite poems by Paul Janeczko
Janeczko Favorites, page 2
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Module 3 Book Review
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Review: nursery rhymes
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A less familiar Mother Goose poem
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Classic Poem

Introduction- This poem complements the nonfiction book Outside and Inside Bats, by Sandra Markle.  (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1997.)

"Bats," by Randall Jarrell
 
A bat is born
Naked and blind and pale.
His mother makes a pocket of her tail
and catches him.  He clings to her long fur
By his thumbs and toes and teeth.
And then the mother dances through the night
Doubling and looping, soaring, somersaulting--
Her baby hangs on underneath.
All night, in happiness, she hunts and flies.
Her high sharp cries
Like shining needlepoints of sound
Go out into the night, and echoing back,
Tell her what they have touched.
She hears how far it is, how big it is,
Which way it's going:
She lives by hearing.
The mother eats the moths and gnats she catches
In full flight; in full flight
The mother drinks the water of the pond
She skims across.  Her baby hangs on tight.
Her baby drinks the milk she makes him
In moonlight or starlight, in mid-air.
Their single shadow, printed on the moon
Or fluttering across the stars,
Whirls on all night; at daybreak
The tired mother flaps home to her rafter.
The others all are there.
They hang themselves up by their toes,
They wrap themselves in their brown wings.
Bunched upside-down, they sleep in air.
Their sharp ears, their sharp teeth, their quick sharp faces
Are dull and slow and mild.
All the bright day, as the mother sleeps,
She folds her wings about her sleeping child.
 
In Keillor, Garrison, ed.  Good Poems.  New York: Viking, 2002.

Extension- The book has some amazing stop-action photographs illustrating the lives of bats.  Children will probably enjoy comparing what Jarrell says in his poem about bats with the information in the book.  They could be encouraged to think about if they were bats-- what type would they want to be?  Why?  Ask them to write a poem about bat life.