Thursday, April 4, 2013

Week 31

It's Week 31 and time to focus on the FORM of poetry. Our poem for the theme "Different Forms," comes from third grade and features the always-popular haiku form. The poet? Author of the prize-winning poem picture book, Won Ton, Lee Wardlaw. She offers THREE separate haiku poems that reveal a bit about the feline personality. Here is ONE of her three "Catku" haiku poems to whet your appetite.

by Lee Wardlaw

Stranger coos:  “Itty
pwetty kitty!” 
  A fur ball
serves as my reply.

[For all three "Catku" haiku, look on p. 177 of The Poetry Friday Anthology.]

Take 5 Activities
1. Point out the clever play on words in the title: Catku = haiku poems about cats. Then read the poems aloud in a kitty cat voice to convey the cat’s point of view.

2. Share the poems again, inviting students to say the quote in italics in the third stanza, “Itty pwetty kitty!” with exaggerated sweetness.

3. For discussion: If these are the elements of the “cat instruction book,” what might a “dog instruction book” include?

4. This is an example of a poem form that usually does not rhyme, a haiku poem. Originally a Japanese form of poetry, a haiku focuses on nature in only three lines (generally 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables). Guide students in understanding the haiku form with these examples.

5. Follow up with another descriptive cat poem, “All Worn Out” by Kristy Dempsey, and with Lee Wardlaw’s haiku picture book, Won Ton.

Don't forget to join the Poetry Friday round up hosted by PFA poet Robyn Hood Black over at Read, Write, Howl. See you there!


  1. If you haven't seen Lee Wardlaw's haiku picture book WON TON, you really need to look for it at a library this week. This book is on so many state "children's choice" award lists--kids (and adults) ADORE this book. I don't even like cats (don't throw fish at me!! sorry, I just prefer dogs) . . . but I loved this book, too.

  2. Aw, thanks, Janet! And thank you, Sylvia, for featuring one of my catku this week! Purrfect activities, too. =^..^= And if anyone is interested in making an origami 'itty pwetty kitty' to go along with this poem, please email me at I'll send you the instructions, ASAP!

  3. Hey, Lee! You are so much fun, it's no wonder that your books are FUN, too!

    =^..^= back at you!!