Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Papa Is a Poet: A Story About Robert Frost

Gibbon, Rebecca (Illustrator)
Macmillan 2013. 40 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9780805094077 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 811
Book type: Non-Fiction
Book genre: Biography

Text Elements:

character, point of view, structures and features

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:

This story of the life and work of poet Robert Frost is narrated from the perspective of his daughter Lesley, whose memories of life on their farm are full of child-friendly detail.

The language portrays Frost’s commitment to his family as well as his writing: “He decided to milk his cow at midnight so he could stay awake and read Shakespeare and write poems in the hush of a sleeping household.” It cleverly incorporates excerpts from Frost’s poems: “You ought to have seen what I saw on my way/To the village, through Patterson’s pasture today”.

Quaint watercolour-effect illustrations depict scenes with a naïve realism. In one image, Papa stands in the foreground, head bowed, while the family peers at him from house and field. In the next, they watch as Papa tosses a coin to decide where they will move, “‘to write poetry without further shame to friends and family who had looked on him as a disappointing failure,’ Mama said.” In a fine finish, the family returns from their trip and learns that Papa has a publisher!

Back material includes an author’s note and selected poems (from which the excerpts are drawn).

  •  

    Browse the first few pages, including the title page. Discuss and describe the setting of the book.

  •  

    As you read, make note of the unconventional choices Robert Frost made so that he could work as a poet. Make connections between his life and the famous poem, “The Road Not Taken.”

  •  

    Choose one of the selected poems at the back. Work with a partner to prepare a choral reading of it for the class.

  •  

    Start an observation notebook to describe anything notable such as humour, beauty, metaphors, etc.

  •  

    Go for a picture walk. Examine how it is organized: what are its structures and features?

  •  As the book is read aloud, make a list of Papa’s suggestions regarding scholarly education. In light of what you know about education, discuss how it is similar or different.
  •  

    Draw a character map of Papa, including his personality, qualities and special traits.

  •  

    Start an observation notebook to describe anything notable such as humour, beauty, metaphors, etc.

  • To communicate appropriately
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use creativity
  • Media Literacy
  • Personal and Career Planning