Sunday, April 21, 2013

Poetry A-Z: F is for Fictitious

I really wanted to go with fables or  fairy tales for F, but as I was perusing my bookshelves I realized I had a number of books about imaginary creatures. Those books inspired my choice of today's word.  

FICTITIOUS - not real or true, being imaginary or having been fabricated

Imaginary Menagerie: A Book of Curious Creatures, written by Julie Larios and illustrated by Julie Paschkis, is a collection of poems that describe all manner of mythical creatures. Readers will find poems for dragon, mermaid, firebird, centaur, trolls, cockatrice, hobgoblins, sea serpent, thunderbird, sphinx, will o' the wishp, gargoyle, naga, and phoenix here. For those unfamiliar with some of these creatures, a full text glossary provides information on the origin of the legend surrounding each one. My son's favorite poem is about dragons.


The air around me
burns bright as the sun.
I tell wild rivers
which way to run.
I'm arrow tailed,
fish scaled,
a luck bringer.
When I fly,
it's a flame song the world sings.
But you can ride safely
between my wings.
My favorite (today anyway!) is this one.


How can a beast speak
with a stone tongue,
with a stone throat?
My mouth is a rainspout. I screech. I shout.
How can a best fly
with stone wings?
I fly when the bells ring and the hunchback is home.
Does a stone beast sleep
in a stone nest?
I am on guard. I never rest.

Poems ©Julie Larios. All rights reserved.

To celebrate National Poetry Month in 2008, Harcourt produced a Poetry Kit based entirely on Julie's book Imaginary Menagerie: A Book of Curious Creatures

The Hidden Bestiary: A Marvelous, Mysterious  and (Maybe Even) Magical Creatures, written by Judy Young and illustrations by Laura Francesca Filippucci, is a collection of poems in the form of diary entries. Basil Bernard Barnswhitten (BBS) first visits the Finchhaven Museum of Extraordinary Curiosities, Oddities & Improbabilities to research a variety of creatures to determine if they "Are extinct or endangered/Or never existed." He then travels around the world to verify the information. Here's the first creature poem.

Tasmanian Tiger

A tasmanian tiger,
With stripes on his back,
Was the first on my list
So I searched through each rack.

When I found a case broken!
Can there be a wee chance
That the creature escaped
And once more gets to prance?

But alas it could not,
There's no room for debate.
The Thylacines met
A most terrible fate.

Later in his travels, BBS writes about the Kracken.


The sailors, they warned me,
But I'm sure they're mistaken,
Of a giant sea monster,
A mean, fearsome kracken.

It rose from great depths,
And spied with huge eyes,
Sinking ships with long arms,
But I'm sure these are lies.

Poems ©Judy Young. All rights reserved.

The back matter of the book contains a Field Guide to the animals studied by BBS. For each animal readers will find habitat, a description, behavior, diet, and status. 

Scranimals, written by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Peter Sis, is a collection of 19 poems about the trip to and from Scranimal Island and the amazing array of strange, hybrid animals found there. Animals you'll meet include the Rhinocerose, Broccolion, Bananaconda, Avocadodos, and more. Here's how it begins.

The Journey

We're sailing to Scranimal Island,
It doesn't appear on most maps.
The PARROTTERS float on the tide there,
We may find a rare OSTRICHEETAH,
There's never been one in a zoo.
We're sailing to Scranimal Island--
You're welcome to come along too.

And here is one of my favorite poems.

The Hippopotamushrooms

Cannot wander very far.
How fortunate they're satisfied
Precisely where they are.
They feel no need to travel,
They're forever at their ease,
Relaxing on the forest floor
Beneath the shady trees.

Suffer from deficient grace,
And their tubby, blobby bodies
Tend to take up too much space.
But they compensate with manners
For the things they lack in style . . . 
They are models of politeness,
And they always wear a smile.

Poems ©Jack Prelutsky. All rights reserved.

That's it for F. See you tomorrow for some E inspired poetry ponderings.

1 comment:

  1. Hah. Fiction is always a good word. The Scranimals reminds me of my Tony Meeuwissen book, Remarkable Animals, which is a book of amalgamations. Some of the best fictions there, ever.