Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Insectlopedia: Poems and Paintings

Florian, Douglas (Author/Illustrator)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2002. 48 pages
First published: 1998
ISBN: 9780152163358 (paperback)
9780152013066 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 811
Book type: Anthology
Book genre: Poetry

Text Elements:

figurative language, multimodal

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Spirited, sophisticated language is embedded in these accessible odes to the insect world. Their humour and word play will appeal to children as they read about “The Praying Mantis” (“A caterpillar,/Moth,/Or bee—/I swallow them/Religiously”), “The Weevils” (“We are evil./We’ve aggrieved/Since time primeval”) and much more.

Youngsters will also enjoy poems in special graphic layouts, such as “The Whirligig Beetles” which must be read clockwise, and “The Inchworm,” which forms the hump-shape of an inchworm in motion.

Illustrations match the language in depth and sophistication, working with paint and collage to create symbolic scenes for each insect-poem. One image is dominated by a half-finished graphic of the universal sign for ‘No’—a circle with a slash through it—that is dotted with paper scraps of painted ticks. (“Not magne-tic./Nor aesthe-tic./Ticks are strictly parasi-tic.”) In another, fluid strokes create locusts with translucent wings. Munching the edges of a fertile landscape, they seem to be eating it right off the page.

This fun, inventive book is an excellent choice for enjoying with early readers and art students alike.

  •  

    Brainstorm a list of types of insects. Start an illustrated class list.

  •  

    Listen to one of the poems as it is read aloud (without seeing the illustration). Create an accompanying drawing or painting. Compare your artistic interpretation to the one in the book. How are they similar or different?

  •  

    With a partner, select one of the poems. Practise and present a dramatic reading.

  •  

    Write your own poem about an insect. Create an accompanying illustration. Compile a class anthology of insect poems.

  •  

    Brainstorm a list of types of insects. Start an illustrated class list.

  •  

    Explore the insect pictures and the poem styles. Discuss how they work together to represent the featured insect.

  •  

    With a partner, choose a poem. Practise saying it out loud with the correct pronunciation, style, rhythm and intonation. Present it to your peers.

  •  

    Write your own poem about an insect. Create an accompanying illustration. Compile a class anthology of insect poems.

  •  

    As a class, construct a definition for the word poetry by creating a word web.

  •  

    Listen to a few of the poems, paying attention to the rhyme and form. Organize the rhyming words such that you can reuse them in your own creative poem about an insect.

  •  

    Research another poet who illustrates their own poems or who writes shape poems. Choose a medium to compare Douglas Florian with this poet. Write a short opinion text about which you prefer and why. Share the information with your peers.

  • To communicate appropriately
  • To cooperate with others
  • To use creativity
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Drama
  • Science and Technology
  • Visual Arts