Children's Literature

Instructor: Chi-Fen Emily Chen, Ph.D. 陳其芬

Department of English, National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology, Taiwan


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Poetry for Children

 Please read Chapter 8 and Chapter 6: Mother Goose Books from Russell, D. L. (2009). Literature for children: a short introduction.

Language of Poetry

Part A.  Imagery: Literal images & Figurative images

Part B.  Sound Patterns: Rhythm & Rhyme

Part A.  Imagery

Imagery refers to mental pictures created by words.

  • Literal Images: the words are used to describe something directly by appealing to one or more of our sensory faculties.

  1. Visual images: they consist of things we can see.

 

The sun was shining on the sea,

Shining with all his might:

He did his very best to make

The billows smooth and bright -

And this was odd, because it was

The middle of the night.   

     (Lewis Carroll)        

 

  1. Tactile images: they appeal to our sense of touch.

 

Through the green twilight of a hedge,

I peered with cheek on the cool leaves pressed

     (Walter de la Mare)

 

  1. Auditory images: they suggest the sounds of things, usually resulting in an effect onomatopoeia (Words that imitate sounds or sounds that are linked with objects).

 

Bow-wow, says the dog,
Mew, mew says the cat,
Grunt, grunt, goes the hog,
And squeak goes the rat.
Tu, whu, says the owl,
Quack, quack, says the duck,
And what the cuckoo says you know.
   
(Mother Goose)

 

  1. Olfactory images: they suggest the smells of things.

 

As Mommy washed up
and the children played,
smell of warm butter filled the air.

    (Anonymous)

 

  1. Kinesthetic images: they refer to actions or motions.

 

A poem once stopped me on the street.
I've got a poem stuck on my feet.
A poem attacked me in the shower.
I find a poem most every hour!
   
(Mark Stansell)

 

  1. Gustatory images: they suggest the tastes of things.

 

A mouse found a beautiful piece of plum cake,

The richest and sweetest that mortal could make:

'Twas heavy with citron and fragrant with spice,

And covered with sugar all sparkling as ice.

     (Iona and Peter Opie)

 

  • Figurative images: the words are used to describe one thing by comparing it to something else with which we are more familiar. The poet uses figurative language to bring us new experiences, new visions, new ways of looking at the world.

  1. Simile: a stated comparison, employing a connective such as "like" or "as".

"My love is like a red, red rose"

    (Robert Burn)

  1. Metaphor: an implied comparison, not directly stated with words such as "like" and "as".

In the morning the city

Spreads its wings

Making a song

In stone that sings.

    (Langston Hughes)

 

  1. Personification: human qualities are given to an inanimate object, an abstract idea, or a force of nature.

 

 

"The Night was creeping on the ground!

She crept and did not make a sound"

    (James Stephens)

Part B.   Sound Patterns

Most poems are written to be read aloud, and how they sound is as important as what they mean. Sound patterns consist of two elements: rhythm and rhyme.

  • Rhythm: the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in language.

  1. Rhythmical pattern in poetry is called meter. The smallest unit of rhythmical pattern is called a foot. Much poetry combines more than one rhythmical pattern to achieve a particular effect.

  2. Nursery rhymes tend to have very predictable rhythms. For example, "Mary had a little lamb", "Twinkle, twinkle, little star" (regular trochees; i.e., two syllables with the emphasis on the first)

  3. When reading poetry to children, we need to be aware of the rhythm pattern(s) a poem contains so that we can gain good effect from our reading.

  • Rhyme: the repetition of similar sounds in the two or more words.

  1. End rhyme: the repetition of  the ending sounds in two or more lines.

One, two,

buckle my shoe;
Three, four,

shut the door;
Five, six,

pick up sticks;
 

Seven, eight,

lay them straight;
Nine, ten,

a big, fat hen.

  1. Alliteration: the repetition of initial sounds in two or more words.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
How many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?

 

  1. Assonance: the repetition of vowel sounds within words.

 

 

Hickory Dickory Dock,
The mouse ran up the clock,
The clock struck one,

The mouse ran down,
Hickory Dickory Dock!

 

  1. Consonance: the repetition of consonant sounds within words, often with a variation in adjoining vowels.

A flea and a fly
Flew up in a flue.
Said the flea, "Let us fly!"
Said the fly, "Let us flee!"
So they flew through a flap in the flue.

 

 

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