Thursday, April 30, 2015

Poetry Friday: Orangutanka

Orangutanka: a story in poems (2015) by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Renée Kurilla.

I was introduced to this adorable new poetry book this week by our school librarian. Orangutanka combines a family of orangutans with the poetry form tanka. The author's note at the beginning explains a bit about tanka and why the author chose to use the idea of tanka poetry rather than a strict interpretation of lines and syllables.

The story follows a family of orangutans throughout their day in an animal sanctuary in Borneo. The story is a bit more cute than fact-filled, especially as the baby orangutan dances with/near a group of children near the end of the story. But the poetry itself is lovely and emotive, and kids will enjoy the lively, colorful illustrations as well.

This could also be a potential mentor text for teaching kids about poetry forms, like tanka, especially if you want to get the idea of creativity and meaning across, rather than a simple counting of lines and syllables. Who could not be inspired by poems such as these?

riding happily
on mama's soft, furry back
curious baby
watches the dazzling fruit feast
and discovers butterflies

How precious is that?

Space City Scribes will have this week's Poetry Friday Roundup.

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