World Rat Day: Poems About Real Holidays You’ve Never Heard Of
Written by J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrated by Anna Raff
What is your favorite holiday? Christmas? Independence Day? National Skunk Day? What? You have never heard of National Skunk Day? Why, it comes around every year on June 14. To commemorate this momentous day, J. Patrick Lewis wrote this poem. “If the skunk did not exist, then the skunk would not be mist.”
National Skunk Day not your cup of tea? What about Dragon Appreciation Day on January 16? “At every meal, bow your head, fold your wings, and say ‘Graze’.” Still not ringing your bell? What about National Hippo Day or Bulldogs are Beautiful Day?
Whichever new holiday you find to your fancy, you will certainly find many, many uses for this hootin’, hollerin’ book in your classroom library. Children can connect what they read with their own lives. For instance, cats on Happy Mew Year for Cats Day may eat Mice Crispies while the children eat rice crispies. What about when they play “mewsic”? Pulling several of these out would provide loads of fun reading activities.
Our language can be a little frustrating to fourth grade children. Good and food should rhyme. Why don’t they? Well, before you get too frustrated, turn to page ten and read about World Rat Day. “The Rat Is…the mous-tache in the trache, the wrong-doer in the soer.”
Too often creative writing is stifled due to fears of breaking grammar rules. Reading this book to your children should give them more confidence in writing what is in their heads without worrying about grammar mistakes. We have textbooks to help with that part.
The illustrations are adorable and appealing to readers of all ages. But beware. This is a book that should be read by the teacher before being read to the class. All kinds of hysteria might erupt if the teacher were to celebrate Limerick Day (May 15) by reading, “A mother baboon is a beauty, her baby baboon is a cutie and the whole baboon troop starts to whistle and whoop when the baby starts shaking her booty”. Oh so much fun. Pump some poetry into your day with this book. You won’t be sorry.
J. Patrick Lewis attempts to visit 50 elementary schools each year. For more information about both him and his schedule visit http://www.jpatricklewis.com/ .