soup of the day special edition: stampede by laura purdie salas and steven salerno


Look out! Take cover! Clear the decks!

A stampede is coming!!

Just two days from now, Monday, April 6th, to be exact, Stampede!: Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School, by the amazingly prolific author and poet, Laura Purdie Salas, will be officially released through Clarion Books! WooHoo!!

That’s right. One of Poetry Friday’s regular participants, deemed last year an official Poetry Princess, she of the famous 15 Words or Less weekly poetry writing feature, is launching her first trade book collection of poems for kids.

Friends, I gotta tell you, this book is deliciously wild. I received a review copy from the fabulous folks at Clarion, and I’ve been gleefully eating up all of Laura’s poems and Steven Salerno’s wacky and imaginative brush, gouache, and digitally enhanced illustrations.

Resident animals enthusiastically welcome Laura’s new book.

Laura’s theme is exceedingly clever. She says she got the idea from her daughter, Maddie, who had to have two teeth pulled when she was in the third grade. Laura took Maddie out for a milkshake, and Maddie replaced her missing teeth with straws. A walrus! A few months later, Laura visited Maddie’s class and they all wrote poems comparing themselves to animals. From then on, a veritable stampede of kids-as-animals poems thundered through Laura’s brain, and some of them became this book.

From the opening poem, “Swarm,” where kids flood the schoolyard, buzzing and flitter-tumbling, to the jubilant “Stampede” of elephants at day’s and book’s end, readers (young and old), will be able to identify with the all-too-familiar scenarios.

Winkler ogles “Here Boy,” a poem about lunch.

Remember how your stomach growled like a starving bear during class? Or how big and scary a new school felt on the first day, making you feel like a mouse in a maze? Or how you wanted to retract into your turtle shell so the teacher wouldn’t call on you? Laura really nails the universal emotions of the school experience in all its joy and angst. Kids (while laughing) will be reassured that they’re not the only ones, and adults will be reminded that what we sometimes consider to be minor or trivial things, can be a big deal to a child.

Go on, sample these tasty poems paired with their spreads:

“Ducks in a Row”

Do you all
Understand how we walk while in school?

Children, listen!
Keep quiet’s the number one rule.
Leave the lockers alone and
I’m sure you’ll do fine.
No poking or
Giggling — and
Stay in your line!



When I’m feeling
I get nasty,
I get whiny.

Stay away or
I might stick you.
My sharp words are
quills to prick you.



The last bell rings
We spill outside,
like captives finally freed.

We’re thundering, fumbling
elephants —
an after-school stampede.

Now, please join me in my favorite alphabet soup tradition, of celebrating new book releases with a special bowl of soup. Let’s all congratulate Laura with a virtual stampede of buzzes, oinks, trumpets, eeks, grunts, growls, quacks, barks, tweets, rumbles and roars. Then, spend the rest of the day looking at your co-workers, family members or even strangers on the street. What kind of animals are they? What about you?

Today’s Lunchbox Special: Salas Super Stampede Soup (guaranteed to make you earn better grades in school).

What? You thought I forgot dessert? It’s Poetry Month, so you can have your cupcake and eat it too:

Which animal are you? (photo by specialcakes/tracey)

Be sure to join Laura for her online Stampede Launch Party, all day Monday. There’ll be videos, readings, poems that didn’t make the cut, and much more. (I’m already wearing my elephant ears and nose, and can’t wait to party down!)

Click here for the special Stampede! web page. View the book trailer here, and knock yourself out with a fun activity sheet on writing animal poems here.

Visit Laura’s official website for information about her other books (she’s also published tons of nonfiction titles and 10 poetry collections for the educational market)! It’s full of great resources for writers and poets, and details her presentations, school visits, and online classes.

Of course, don’t miss her Live Journal blog, Writing the World for Kids, for the latest updates. For those especially interested in book promotion, also check out Bubble Stampede, where Laura co-blogs with Fiona Bayrock every Monday. For the past 9 months or so, these two ladies have been filling us in on all the nuts and bolts of launching and promoting their first children’s trade books.

Amy Planchak Graves is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup today. Be sure to check out all the other reviews and poems being served, and have a good weekend!


**And don’t forget, starting Monday, you can thunder over to your local indie or click through to your fave online bookseller, to capture your copy of Stampede!

*Interior spreads from Stampede! posted by permission of the publisher, text copyright © 2009 Laura Purdie Salas, illustrations copyright © 2009 Steven Salerno; Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

36 thoughts on “soup of the day special edition: stampede by laura purdie salas and steven salerno

  1. What a mouth-watering post! I can’t wait to sample the rest of Laura’s poems (and I love the way the illustrator gave the kids in “Ducklings” duck-type wings). And the purple hippo cupcake? All mine!


  2. It was so exciting to finally see the book I’d been hearing about for awhile. Now I’m really looking forward to her online launch party on Monday. 🙂


  3. Wow! Thank you so much, Jama! I’m trying to figure out a way to print this post out and frame it. I’m so glad you, Winkler, and the other beasts like the book–and I hope you’re saving me one of those delicious-looking cupcakes!

    Thank you again! You’re a deer (ha! But you can be a monkey if you really prefer).


  4. I actually didn’t receive my review copy either (as one of those on your list). I finally had to nudge the nice folks at Clarion a little, and they came through immediately, with spreads and everything. So it all worked out in the end :). My fave poems are the food ones (big surprise). You must be very excited about Monday!


  5. I’ve heard so much about Stampede, and I can’t wait to see a live, kicking copy. I didn’t know that a walrus started it all! How fun.

    These spreads are fab—thanks for sharing, Laura and Jama. And for the cupcake. I want the cute tiger in the back.

    See you at the party on Monday!


  6. Exciting! Thanks for the sneak-peek, too. Laura will be at 7-Imp in about two weeks. WOOT! The book is great.

    Mrs. Bottlecap


  7. This book sounds truly fabulous!– the perfect mix of truth and hilarity. Congrats to Laura and thanks for an excellent review.



  8. That’s what struck me most as I read through these poems — how very true each instance described was. We’ve all felt these very same feelings — I had forgotten about some of them, so it’s good to be reminded.


  9. Wonderful review for a fabulous book by a fabulous author. Am I gushing? Oh yeah. I am so excited for Laura and thie book.

    See you all at the party on Monday.


  10. Thanks for this great review, Jama.

    I had to smile at pick up today when all the kids trooped out … Laura’s poems are so perfect. Must get STAMPEDE for the school library. Is the monkey cupcake taken? That one’s mine!


  11. Monkey cupcake is all yours. That would be great to get Stampede for your school library! I think kids will really enjoy seeing “themselves.” 🙂


  12. Woo Hoo! I am so excited about the par-tay on Monday!! And I am definitely asking for a copy at my indie bookstore on Monday. I can’t wait to see those poems and illustrations! I get dibs on the Big Cat Cupcake.


  13. WOO-HOO indeed! I can’t wait to get my hands on this and share it with my class!

    I’ll be the hippo, then I don’t need to worry about what one of those cupcakes will do to my hips-oh.


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