Meow, Ruff — A Story in Concrete Poetry

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday at Susanna Hill’s and I’m going to share some poetry with you!

The book I’ve chosen is called Meow Ruff,  A Story in Concrete Poetry
Written by Joyce Sidman and Illustrated by Michelle Berg
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company in 2006
This book is probably suitable for 2nd grade and up. The story is pretty simple, but some of the words might be difficult for younger kids.

From the front cover — “On a clear, sunny day, a small adventure begins. First, a dog slips joyfully out of his house. Next, a car pulls up to the curb, leaving a white cat alone. Then, slowly. a storm begins to brew over the park.”

This is a funny, word-filled adventure where the cat and dog, who think they should be enemies, end up becoming friends. I like the dog and cat. They are pretty cute and don’t know what to think about the big world around them. Those crows are kind of annoying though!

A concrete poem is one that takes the shape of its subject. I think they are really cool!  In this book the tree is made of words, the ground is made of words, and the clouds are made of words. And the clouds change from a “wisp” to a “dense dark drenching murk.” And the rain goes from a “drip, drop” to “stinging ropes of water”. Whew!

Lots of Rhythm!  Love it! This book is a visual buffet!

I think that if I had opposable thumbs and could write, making a concrete poem would be a fun activity to do. Since most kids DO have those thumbs and can hold a pencil, I think that they would probably like to create a concrete poem themselves. Ms Sidman has a great website where you can find info about all of her books and resource info for using her books in the classroom. Check it out! You can also find a short, useful lesson for creating concrete poems here. Or here. And examples of concrete poems here.

I hope you have some fun with concrete poems. And check out Meow Ruff — you’ll be glad you did!

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11 thoughts on “Meow, Ruff — A Story in Concrete Poetry

  1. I *HAVE* to find this book and read it. It sounds wonderful! I hadn’t encountered the concept of concrete poems before, and they sound fascinating. Add to that a cat and a dog who become friends under adverse circumstances, while a nasty storm is brewing over a lot of my friends in real life… All I can say is, the library had better have this book. Great activities, too! Thanks!

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