Thursday, May 21, 2020

Wild in the Streets Review

Hello Poetry Friday,

     Today's round-up is hosted by our friend Carol at Beyond Literacy. Don't miss the beautiful poetry and image collection she has created.

      Many mornings as I wait for coffee to brew, I scroll along twitter or facebook until something stops me. More times than not, it's cute or funny animals. Wild boars entering people territory caught my eye recently. As if the pandemic wasn't weird enough. Right?

     This reminded me of a book of poems by Marilyn Singer, Wild in the Streets; 20 Poems of City Animals (Quarto 2019) tucked away in one of my TBR piles after winning it from a Poetry Friday giveaway this past winter. I took Wild out for a read.

     As a middle school librarian, I look for easy/complex books--if that makes sense? I need books that are easy to read but have complex ideas for my 6th-8th graders. 

     Each page spread beautifully illustrated by Gordy Wright features a poem about an animal that once lived in the wild but has adapted to an urban environment as well as a solid scientific description of its adaption. Wild in the Streets animals cover the globe from...USA, England, Australia, Singapore, Germany, Ethiopia, Japan and many more places. Included are excellent text features such as a glossary and a description of the poetry forms Singer uses. The poems describe what the animals want and need as they adapt.  I'm sure that when I get back to school, this will be a super fun book for my students who learn about adaption.

   As a reader and writer of poetry I so enjoyed Wild in the Streets as a meeting of poetry and science. Maybe it's the pandemic...but I'm seeing an urgent need for true understanding of science and civics. 

     Poetry breaks ideas down into word pictures kids of all ages can process. I would love to see more and more poems as introductions to lessons, illustrations of complex ideas in our schools. Plus, I get a huge kick out of writing poetry. The reverso form, created by Singer is one of my favorite word creations. They aren't easy. But, they sure are fun.

     Here's my favorite poem from Wild in the Streets. 
Singer, Marilyn. Wild in the Streets: 20 Poems of City Animals. Quarto Publishing 2019

     As luck should have it, Marilyn Singer shared a delightful interview of her regarding her latest book, Follow the Recipe: Poems about Imagination (Dial Books 2020) on facebook this week. I have just received Follow the Recipe, and will be diving into it next. Enjoy listening to Marilyn's enthusiasm and good humor. It is positively contagious. 

     Lucky for my school library shelves...they will be heavier with Singer poems in the fall.


  1. How does she manage to make a reverso so layered, effortless and beautiful. I struggle just to write one! Thank-you for sharing your treasures. Are there any wild things in your neck of the woods? (Other than family!😹)

    1. Hello dear Kat! Oh, many wild things. Right now, red cardinals and blue jays are everywhere. I've seen a coyote pup pic on a friend's fb page...and lots and lots of bunnies! How about you? What animals are you seeing these days?

  2. LInda, I think it is wonderful that your library is filled with relevant and engaging books for your students. Your love of writing poetry is evident in each creation of yours. Using Marilyn Singer's work as a mentor text will allow your students to be creative and sharing your own writing is motivating. The reverso poetic format is a tricky one but Marilyn does make it seem effortless as Kat mentioned. I always get tripped up when I want to go backwards. Have a great weekend.

  3. I enjoyed reading about your choices of poetry for your students, Linda, and visiting Marilyn Singer's Wild in the Streets. I too have seen those pictures of animals venturing where they've never, or rarely, been before. My family was in Tamarindo a couple of years ago and we marveled at the monkeys everywhere, running across parking lots, calling from the trees. Now I wonder if there are even more? I have Follow the Recipe & have not yet read it, know it will be terrific! Thanks!

  4. Your post really encourages me to find Singer's work. I am so impressed with that reverso... they cannot be easy! Thanks for this interesting topic and peek into a beautiful book.

  5. I had to look to see if you won this book from TLD, Linda, but apparently not. :) Still, thank you for paying it forward with your terrific review. Marilyn is phenomenal.

  6. Thanks for the introduction to this Singer book - I didn't know of this title before. I look forward to reading it. :)

  7. I got the notice about that podcast too--when will I fit it in!? Thanks for the reminder about this book that went by too fast last year. There's also HIDDEN CITY: POEMS OF URBAN WILDLIFE by Sarah Grace Tuttle--which I have not read, but which must cover similar ground. Thanks for the peek!

  8. I instantly thought of SGT's Hidden City, as Heidi mentioned, when I read this. It's a favorite of mine to read to Kindergarten folks, so I will have to try out Wild In the Streets! So much wild happening now. I've never had so many cardinals, orioles, and woodpeckers! -- Christie @

  9. How nice to revisit this book, Linda! And that wild boar is something else. I, too, just received Follow the Recipe and can't wait to dig in.

  10. This was such a lovely book, and this reverso was one of my favorites, too!

  11. Yes! A perfect book for right now!

  12. This post is especially pertinent today. As I worked in the garden this morning, a deer sauntered down the easement, not 10 ft. away from me on the other side of our fence. She stopped right across from me and took a good look at the strange sweaty creature in the red bandana. I stared right back into those gorgeous brown eyes. Then she walked on, and I breathed again. Later, I looked out the front window and across the street to our neighbor's porch. Were those kittens coming out through a crack between the steps? NO! Baby skunks! 5 of them. (Glad it's their porch and not ours!)

  13. Your lucky students, to be the recipients of your enthusiasm, and lucky us, that your sharing bubbles over to us grown-ups as well. Marilyn Singer's work is so rich and wonderful; I'm going to have to track down this one (ha! "track"...) and I've been curious about Sarah Grace Tuttle's book, too. Thanks, Linda!

  14. I think our city creatures are having the time of their life while we are all quarantining–better air quality, less traffic, and many more of them making a statement. Thanks for your review, and inside peek into what you look for when seeking books for your student's Linda. I'm looking forward to reading it, and to Marilyn's "Imagination" book too!


Friendly, positive comments and feedback are always welcome here. Please let me know I'm not just whistling in the dark!