Friday, April 15, 2011

My Poetry Book Kids' Poetry Challenge - Week 3 - "The Tale of Custard the Dragon"





Welcome to the third of five "My Poetry Book" Kids' Poetry Challenge post link-ups! In celebration of National Poetry month, we're challenging other parents and kids to explore the world of poetry together.

Each week in April we hope you'll consider reading a poem (any poem, not just the one we have featured) with your child and then encourage your child to create an illustration based on the poem. This type of creative activity helps your child more thoroughly understand the poem and interpret it in his or her own way. If you would like to participate, please refer the original Kids' Poetry Challenge post and read the guidelines.

***Note: A few readers have mentioned that their child does not really like drawing or is not old enough to draw anything recognizable. If you prefer, please feel free to just post a favorite poem you shared with your child this week. Remember to only post a portion of the poem to avoid copyright issues.

We've tried to make it very simple for everyone to participate. Reading a poem together only takes a few minutes. The link-up will remain open all week long. Post the picture and accompanying text any day of the week and, if you have the time, stop by and visit the other participants' posts.

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Over the course of this month I've learned that my daughter and son both like to read narrative poems, the kind of poetry that tells a story. They also especially enjoy poems about animals or fantasy creatures. In the poetry book we reviewed last week, Poetry Speaks to Children, we ran across a partial poem by Odgen Nash, "The Tale of Custard the Dragon."

"The Tale of Custard the Dragon" is about a "brave" little girl named Belinda and her "cowardly" pet dragon called Custard. We wanted to read the realio, trulio poem in its entirety and found a wonderful picture book version titled The Tale of Custard the Dragon, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger at our public library. Munsinger really brings the cowardly pet dragon to life and both kids listened to the humorous story with rapt attention. The poem contains several similes that help create some wonderful imagery and with fun, rhyming verses, it's an extremely enjoyable read aloud (so long as your kids can stomach a gun-slinging pirate who meets an unfortunate demise).

"The Tale of Custard the Dragon" originally appeared in Nash's The Bad Parents' Garden of Verse (1936) and later on as a stand alone story in the picture book version, Custard the Dragon (1959), illustrated by Nash's own daughter Linell! I'd really love to acquire a copy of Linell's version sometime just to see the illustrations.

The Tale of Custard the Dragon

Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio little pet dragon.

Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
And the little gray mouse, she called her Blink,
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.

Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,
Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,
And realio, trulio daggers on his toes. ...


Odgen Nash


Both my daughter and son love Custard best of all, and they chose to illustrate him with a "mouth like a fireplace."



I quickly drew a dragon for my toddler son so he could participate this week. He added his own fire illustrations and colored the dragon.



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I'm linking up to Poetry Friday and Feed Me Books Friday! This week's Poetry Friday is hosted by Random Noodling. Head over to her blog for more poetry posts and consider joining the Poetry Friday link-up. Link up your Friday book posts at Little Sprout Books' Feed Me Books Friday.

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3 comments:

Anne@LittleSproutBooks said...

What a fun sounding poem - and I agree - finding the daughter's illustrated version would be really neat! Thanks for encouraging little poetry lovers with your link-up!

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I love it! I have an Ogden Nash collection in our library basket now! Great illustrations, too. :-)

learning ALL the time!!/Susan said...

Custard the Dragon sounds very cute! and I love the kids' drawings :)

We haven't forgotten about the poetry challenge this week, we've just been a bit busy. I will post and link (maybe, hopefully) tomorrow.