Themed Poetry Tea Time: Tea with Marilyn Singer

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Each week, our family routinely sets aside time to enjoy a Poetry Tea Time together.  The table is set, the drinks and snacks are served, and poetry is shared aloud.

Tea Time with Marilyn SingerOn a typical week we bring favorite books from our own collection or from a recent library trip to the table.

But this week was a bit different.  Inspired by this interview with Marilyn Singer at Poetry Tea Time, we had a themed teatime with Marilyn as our featured author.

To prepare for our special tea, I requested all of the books available by Marilyn Singer at our local libraries.  Thankfully, this creative poet has written a large number of poetry books with diverse themes.

I began our tea time by reading an interview with Marilyn to the kids.  A podcast was also available, which I listened to on my own, but the kids weren’t up for forty minute podcast.  After learning a little bit about our featured poet, we were ready to dig into her books and our snacks!

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IMG_4643Right away, my youngest child gravitated toward the book, A Stick is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play.  This book was filled with fun poems for all readers, but it was particularly perfect for my youngest reader.  He was able to comfortably read a few poems out loud for us.

Marilyn’s well-known reverso, or mirror poetry, can be found in several books.  Her fairy tale reverso poems were found in both Follow Follow and Mirror Mirror.   Our family was fortunate enough to also find her most recent release, Echo Echo, at our library.  Echo Echo is a book of reverso poems based on stories from Greek Mythology.  This wasn’t our first time reading these reverso poems, yet it was fun to revisit them again with more background knowledge of the poet!

Inspired by what we just read, we ended our tea time by attemping some reverso poetry of our own.


Daniel, age 6
May’s coming                        I’m waiting
I’m waiting                         May’s coming


David, age 9
Have fun                            Ripstiking
Ripstiking                         Have fun


Patricia, age 11
No!  I will                                I’m safe.
Never!                                      It’s over.
Will I go back?                     Will I go back?
It’s over.                                   Never?
I’m safe.                                    No, I will.

My attempt:
Jekyll and Hyde Come to Tea

Poetry.                                      We stop!
While reading                        Never will
we sip tea.                                we sip tea
Never will                                while reading
we stop.                                     poetry.

We had a great time, but boy was it challenge to write these poems!  The process gave us a whole new appreciation for Marilyn and her creativity.

I did take the time to email Marilyn about our experience with her books and I shared our poems with her.  Her email can be found on her website and she responded within 24 hours!

Some of our favorite titles by Marilyn include the following titles.

Nature/Outdoor Focus

A Stick is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play (illustrated by LeUyen Pham)- games and outdoor fun easy for kids to relate to

IMG_4641-001How to Cross a Pond: Poems About Water (illustrated by Meilo So)- beautiful monochromatic watercolor illustrations

Turtles in July (illustrated by Jerry Pinkney)- Marilyn’s first published poetry book with poems about animals and beautiful illustrations by Jerry Pinkney

Fireflies at Midnight (illustrated by Ken Robbins) – my personal favorite

Poems for Fun and Learning

Creature Carnival (illustrated by Gris Grimly) – silly, fun poems about mythological creatures such as Nessie, Cerberus, and the Kraken.  My nine year old son took this one to bed with him and loved it!

Rutherford B Who was He?: Poems about our Presidents (illustrated by John Hendrix) – rhyming poems about each of the presidents in order of their service

Reverso Poems

Mirror Mirror and Follow Follow (both illustrated by Josee Masse) are based on fairy tales

Echo Echo (illustrated by Josee Masse) is based on Greek Mythology

Author themed tea times are a great way to get to know various poets.  I am sure this won’t be our last one.

Have you read any of Marilyn’s poetry books?  Do you have a favorite?

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  1. Mary, I’m so glad you posted all of these. Now I can delete the screen shots on my phone!! We did enjoy the Reverso poems, but I’ve been meaning to check out that one on the Presidents as well as some of the others. 🙂

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