friday feast: lapping up dear wandering wildebeest by irene latham and anna wadham (+ a giveaway!)

If you’re feeling a little thirsty, you’ve come to the right place.

Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole (Millbrook Press, 2014)Irene Latham’s first poetry collection for children– is officially hitting shelves on Monday, September 1!

With fifteen beautifully crafted poems, Irene invites us to meet a fascinating variety of animals who frequent a water hole on the African grasslands.

Whether it’s those charming little meerkats standing guard in a nearby burrow, a tentative giraffe acrobatically positioning itself at water’s edge, a herd of playful zebras cavorting in a metaphorical “rugby tangle,” or a solitary rhino venturing out for his moonlight drink, we can easily see what a busy, life-sustaining place this is from dawn to dusk.

Written in free verse and rhyme, Irene’s spare, evocative poems are by turns lyrical, whimsical, informative, amusing, enlightening, reflective and reverent. She did a brilliant job of zeroing in on precisely those aspects of animal personality and behavior that best lend themselves to poetic interpretation. Each verse is paired with a nonfiction note offering further details about how the animals thrive and function in the ecosystem, illuminating interdependence, survival and diversity.

Anna Wadham’s gorgeous illustrations convey the many moods of the savanna, sometimes rust orange and warm, sometimes jade green and refreshing, other times dreamy cerulean and soothing. Her emotive renderings nicely complement the verses, indeed welcoming the reader to “this vital place/where earth and sky convene,” inspiring us to wander, meander, and freely appreciate this unique poetic celebration of wildlife and habitat.

I especially enjoyed hearing from the new-to-me oxpeckers, whose comical poem I’m sharing today, along with the ethereal “Impala Explosion,” a stunning example of how terse rhythm and neat rhyme can perfectly capture the animals’ spirit and movement.

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(click to enlarge)

OXPECKER CLEANING SERVICE

SPECIALIZING IN LARGE BEASTS

Ticks got you dancing in an ear-flapping way?
Try our Basic Tick Removal Plan today!

We bring our own equipment (sharp claws and flattened beaks)
to comb, pick, and groom your hide until it shines and squeaks.

Got earwax? Dead skin? We’re the best!
Deep wound cleaning upon request.

Trustworthy, dependable, professional crew
with years of experience bringing out the best you.

call 1-800-CLEAN ME
Clean is our guarantee!

~ Copyright © 2014 Irene Latham. All rights reserved.

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(click to enlarge)

IMPALA EXPLOSION

Wind lifts
grass shifts

eyes search
legs lurch

twig pops
grazing stops

ears twitch
tails hitch

peace shatters
beasts scatter —

long leaps
athletic feats

flawless flight
dancer’s delight.

~ Copyright © 2014 Irene Latham. All rights reserved.

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♥ NIP AND NOSH ♥

♥ Dear Wandering Blog Readers,

I imagine you’ve  worked up quite an appetite meandering about the African grasslands. Now that you’ve lapped up a couple of Irene’s wonderful poems, please help yourself to a little safari snack compliments of Mr. Cornelius.

Giant Safari Ants!

Cream Cheese Giraffes

Now that you’ve wrapped your lips around those treats, please help me congratulate Irene and Anna on a job well done by gathering around the soup hole. Feel free to sip, slurp, swig, swill or swallow to your heart’s content (roaring, snorting, growling and trumpeting highly encouraged).

Today’s Special: Savanna Soup (enjoyed here by authentic Kenyan carved stone animals procured by Mr. Jama).

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♥ Dear Wandering Poet Irene and Meandering Illustrator Anna,

Thank you SO much for creating this amazing book! I LOVE it even though you didn’t put any bears in it.

Snorting, puffing and blowing,

Your friend and fan,

Cornelius Bear
xoxo

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♥ SPECIAL GIVEAWAY ♥

DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST: And Other Poems from the Watering Hole
written by Irene Latham
illustrated by Anna Wadham
published by Millbrook Press, 2014
Poetry Picture Book for ages 8-12, 32 pp.
**Starred Reviews** from Kirkus and School Library Journal

* Irene has generously offered a signed copy of Dear Wandering Wildebeest for one lucky Alphabet Soup reader. Please leave a comment at this post no later than midnight (EDT) Thursday, September 4, 2014, for a chance to win (U.S. residents only, please). Winner will be announced next Friday. Good Luck!

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🐵 ANOTHER SIP OR TWO 🐵

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poetryfriday180The lovely and talented Jone is hosting the Roundup at Check It Out. Make like an impala and leap over there to check out the cool poetic offerings on this week’s menu.

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* Interior spreads posted by permission of the publisher, text copyright © 2014 Irene Latham, illustrations © 2014 Anna Wadham, published by Millbrook Press/Lerner. All rights reserved.

** Copyright © 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

69 thoughts on “friday feast: lapping up dear wandering wildebeest by irene latham and anna wadham (+ a giveaway!)

  1. I like the Impala Explosion, especially.🙂 (Hey, look, I liked the poetry!) The artwork is lovely, too.

    But, most of all, I love your animal cracker snacks. SO CUTE! Also, the bowl of pasta that looks like a lion. You put so much marvelous effort into your supporting photographs.

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  2. Jama! I KNEW you would do something wildly creative to tie WILDEBEEST to your blog theme… thank you thank you! I am totally stealing your little safari snack ideas for my launch party next week. Wish you could come! Big big thanks to you and Cornelius Bear for reading and for writing these lovely words. I’m so honored. xo

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  3. Mr. C is a busy kitchen bear! And I want to say thaat while I’ve always heard of a wildbeest, I’ve never-ever thought about one, the way lion or giraffe come to mind, for that same region. I look forward to a word safari with these poems.

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    1. I’m the same way — wildebeest isn’t the first animal to come to mind when thinking of Africa — all the more reason it’s great they’re getting their moment in the poetry spotlight🙂. Truly a wonderful collection!

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  4. The two poems you’ve shared show the breadth of Irene’s poetry, Jama. The oxpeckers’ “Deep wound cleaning upon request” cracked me up. The cadence of “Impala Explosion” is perfect for these alert, always ready to leap out of danger animals.

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    1. I do love the mix of humor with more serious poems, and the way the animals are characterized with appropriate forms and cadences. You can just feel the movement of the impalas.

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  5. What a treat, today, Jama! I love the wheat bread giraffe! And the words and illustrations from the book leave me wanting more. Congratulations everyone!

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  6. It’s a lovely book, and your review, too, Jama. I love the way Irene tells of the symbiotic relationships that the oxpeckers form (& need!), & those beautiful impalas. The poems take us straight to the waterhole, don’t they, and the illustrations add to that illusion. Love that Mr. Cornelius had a small snack, too! Thank you! And congratulations to Irene and Anna!

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    1. Definitely a lovely book — lots of good information in the poems and notes. The oxpeckers were so interesting — hadn’t heard of them before.

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  7. What a treat this post and this book is! I especially love the oxpecker poem and your lion food collage. I read the supporting article about the photographer who inspired the book; I don’t think I’d risk multiple diseases to take those wonderful photos!

    Congrats on a spectacular book, Irene and Anna!

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  8. A brilliant write-up of a beautiful book, Jama! And Cornelius does fit right in, doesn’t he? The Oxpecker is one of my favorite poems, as well. So lighthearted and refreshing… for both readers and oxen, I imagine. Love your giraffe eating at the parsley tree too!

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  9. Glorious poetry and illustrations, Jama – “Impala Explosion” just soars! And, moth watering treats, too. I always leave your blog wishing that I could teleport instantly into your kitchen!🙂

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  10. I must have pinned every picture on this post. Such a beautiful, fun, inviting book. Congratulations, Irene and Anna! And thank you, Jama for this delicious post. I lapped up the art and poetry of “Dear Wandering Wildebeest,” only to tuck back in with Cornelius’s culinary delights.

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  11. Thank you for sharing this wonderful poetry book! I love the culinary additions to the featured books. Every time I get an email about your blog, I have to open to your visually inspirtational page.

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  12. The Oxpecker Cleaning Service almost landed themselves a new client! But I think my hide might be a little too delicate. Ah well. Great job, Irene, Anna, Jama, and Cornelius! (Also, those animal crackers look delicious! Better than I remember them tasting.)

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    1. I surveyed several different brands of animal crackers to find those that would photograph best. Some of the animals were not so recognizable, and the circus animal crackers were wrong for an Africa theme. I was surprised to find that Barbara’s makes them in different flavors.

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  13. This is going to work in a classroom on so many levels! Congratulations, Irene! And thanks for sharing the book and snacks, Jama!

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  14. So much good stuff in this post…Irene’s book/poetry, Anna Wadham’s illustrations, the safari snacks (especially the ants on a log – yum!), and Cornelius’ love letter. Pure bliss! = )

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  15. I love Irene’s book. I can’t wait to share it with my students in the coming weeks. I also love your safari snacks. I’m going to make some of those with my granddaughter the next time she visits!

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  16. From henceforth I shall feel compelled to roar when eating rotini.

    As always, your book selections are impeccable and the photo showcases you create for them utterly charming.

    XO to Cornelius.

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  17. I need to get this book for a couple of littles who are in love with animals of all kinds. The page spreads you show make it look irresistible. (Not to speak of the safari snacks!)

    And just to remind you, I don’t qualify for the draw *sigh* as I’m not from the U.S.

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  18. I have a feeling I’d love the cavorting zebras most of all. Irene’s book sounds like a keeper – and a comfort book too with its trickles of beauty and words that nourish the spirit. Will be on the lookout for this.

    Well, hello there Mr. Cornelius, thank you for preparing this bounty for us today. The cream cheese giraffes look especially yummy.

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  19. Your book birthday posts are SO fun!! Those animal crackers are amazing! (I bet they taste good, too!) Yay for Irene and Dear Wandering Wildebeest!

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    1. Hi Penny!

      Yes, you must read this one and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it🙂. Please help yourself to more snacks, and thanks for visiting today!

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  20. A delicious post full of poetry love. Irene is one of my favorite poets and such a generous virtual friend. I am so excited about this book. Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy and to serve it up along with some beastly treats for my students.

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  21. LOVE all the creative snacks — these can be used for a bazillion things. And because I will never, ever tire of or outgrow picture books, this is going straight on the wish list!

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  22. I know the giveaway is already over, but what a darling book! I especially liked the Impala poem, and the illustrations are lovely as well. I’ve been busy for the last few weeks but am trying to catch up on my blog reading!

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