Science Verse is the story of a young student, who’s been struck with the curse of Science Verse! His science teacher, Mr. Newton, tells him that if he listens closely enough he will be able to hear “the poetry of science in everything.” And the next day, everything suddenly and inexplicably begins to rhyme!
The book is composed of a series of twenty-three poems that are intended to help children learn about and remember a whole variety of important scientific concepts. The author uses the rhythmic patterns of several famous poems with all-new content, ranging from dinosaurs, to evolution, the stars, and even scientific method. They vary in length from a few lines to several stanzas.
I’m a big fan of witty, well-written children’s books with plays on words and linguistic ingenuity. A few of my favorite poems in the book include: the water cycle (to “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring”), the food chain (to “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”), atoms (to “The Song of Hiawatha”), the five senses (to “The Ride of Paul Revere”), and the Big Bang (to “ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas”).
‘Twas the night before Any Thing, and all through deep space,
Nothing existed – time, matter, or place.
No stockings, no chimneys. It was hotter than hot,
Everything was compressed in one very dense dot.
Using the rhythms of familiar poems or nursery rhymes is a brilliant mnemonic device and the book comes with a CD to play that features all the poems in the book. Scieszka (“rhymes with ‘Fresca’ ”) includes a list at the end of the book, describing which well-known poems served as inspiration, for those intrinsically curious individuals who may wish to read the originals. But don’t worry: children do not have to be familiar with the original works in order to enjoy the humor. Lane Smith’s distinctive collage artwork compliments the text perfectly, incorporating drawings, paintings, and printed materials.
In addition to being a great read, this interesting, intelligent and irreverent picture book would be a great addition to any elementary teacher’s library. And if Science Verse is a hit, they’ve also written Math Curse, which is in the library’s collection.
Check the WRL catalog for Science Verse.