Friday, April 12, 2013

PPBF: Color Me a Rhyme


Share your favorite children's poetry book during the month of April. Happy National Poetry Month!

TitleColor Me a Rhyme
Author/Illustrator:Jane Yolen/Photographs by Jason Stemple
Publisher/Date: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press/2000
Genre/Audience: Poetry/Ages 9-11 (younger if reading aloud)
Themes: color, nature, poetry

Opening: "A Note from the Author"
"When Jason Stemple and I discussed this book, I said, "Find me colors in nature!" He laughed. He knew as I did that there are colors everywhere. The problem, of course, was not finding the colors, but isolating them."

Poem: "Orange"
I want to take a bite
out of that sunset sky,
letting the orange juices
run down my chin,
spitting out the pulp
onto the rocks below.

Synopsis: (From Booklist)

"There's a lot of good stuff going on in this imaginatively conceived and elegantly executed collection. On one page of each double-page spread is a poem (in one case, two haiku) evoking a color in nature--gray, orange, blue, brown, yellow. Opposite is a photograph, by freelance photographer Jason Stemple (Yolen's son), set like a cabochon jewel on a pale background of related images and words: sloe, sable, and jet for black; plum, orchid, and amethyst for purple. Each word is printed in its own hue. Somewhere on each spread is a sliver of a quotation about the color, from Mother Goose ("Its fleece was white as snow") to Eugene Field ("Any color so long as it's red"). The book is a visual feast, and a verbal one, too, for the poems are striking: in "Green," "poets know / all the secret words, / some of which they make up, / all of which are / green." In "Pink: A Haiku," "A surge of sunlight / Shocks through stem and thistle hairs / A punk pink hairdo." In her author's note, which precedes the text, Yolen urges readers to use the photographs as inspiration for their own poems, and she closes with "Crayons: A Rainbow Poem." GraceAnne DeCandido

Why I Love This Book
This poetry collection was a favorite to use in my classroom. With nature as its theme, it is the perfect choice for April, which is both National Poetry Month and the month in which Earth Day falls. Not only that, but Yolen encourages the reader to write their own color poems by providing a selection of "color" words that frame each photograph, You can teach poetry forms through this text, as well. Yolen uses a variety: free verse, rhyming, haiku; all with rich figurative language, of course.

"You can write poems from his photos, too. And as an added incentive, I have included extra "color" words to help you." -Jane Yolen, from her "A Note from the Author" which precedes the poems in this book.

Take a walk and bring a camera. Capture your own nature images to use as writing prompts.

Kids site which discusses why rainbows form

For more links to Perfect Picture Books, a collection of bloggers who contribute at Susanna Leonard Hill’s site, click here.


  1. This looks lovely! I love that first poem. Very appropriate for this month.

  2. Laura, the cover is stunning. I love anything Jane Yolen writes. There are a couple of themes in books today, music in nature and now color in nature. Your selection would be a great classroom books. Like your activities.

  3. Laura...thanks for sharing another Jane Yolen book...there were a couple for this PPBF, I think...but I don't know this one. :)
    Great resource/activity list and wonderful review!