Friday, May 13, 2016

Call Me Marianne {Poetry Friday}

Call Me Marianne by Jen Bryant is a picture book every teacher of writing needs and/or poet themselves.  David A Johnson's ink and soft watercolor illustrations help make this a soothing story for readers and one where the words lead the reader's journey.  

The story begins when Jonathan takes a bus ride on the bus to the city zoo.  He notices a woman city on the bus looking at the same article from the New York Times - "Exotic Lizards Have New Home at City Zoo."  The reader quickly learns Jonathan must visit the zoo often.  He knows the names of the elephants and sometimes the keeper lets him feed them peanuts.  On his journey to the new exhibit he sees a hat that belonged to the woman on the bus.  He hurries along and finds the woman at the new reptile house.  Jonathan returns the hat and after introductions he is invited to join.  He learns her name is Marianne and that she isn't a scientist but a poet.  

They travel throughout the zoo together and she explains what she does as a poet.   It all begins by watching.  It involves reading.  It requires looking for details.  Of course, she is taking notes.  Jen Bryant's detailed description is a must read.  Here is a snippet, "Then I write them all down, I shuffle them around, like pieces of a puzzle and I read them over and over out loud.   I'm patient, very patient - "  After she shares this with Jonathan, Marianne just happens to have an extra notebook for him to use.  

This story is a fictional account by Marianne Moore, a real poet who lived in NYC and wore a black cape and hat.  She was interested in the natural world and visited the zoo quite often.  This is a perfect book to help children see poetry comes from observations.  

Thank you Violet Nesdoly / Poems for hosting Poetry Friday this week.


  1. This is new to me, Mandy, & I love Jen Bryant. It sounds wonderful, and as you said a lovely one to use in the classroom.

  2. This sounds like a lovely book, Mandy! Thanks for introducing it.

  3. I love Marianne Moore - now I need to find this book!

  4. I love the image of the poet, recognizable not just for cape and hat, but for paying attention to things, writing them down and being patient. Yes!

  5. Thanks for this connection to Marianne Moore. She's a wonderful poet.

  6. Thanks for introducing me to this book. I had not heard of Jen Bryant, nor her subject, Marianne Moore.