Call me Marianne
Pictures by David A. Johnson
Non-Fiction and Fiction Biography
Ages 6 to 8
Eerdmans, 2006, 0-8028-5242-4
A little boy gets on the bus and, as is usual for his Saturday afternoons, he gets off at the zoo. He has come to see the new lizards in the Reptile House. He is not the only one who wants to see the new animals for another person on the bus has a similar interest. The other person is a little grey-haired lady who is wearing a black cloak and an odd tri-corned hat.
As the boy is walking around the zoo a black object sails by him, tossed about by the wind. When the boy retrieves the object he discovers that it is the old lady’s hat. The boy soon finds the hat’s owner and the two of them go into the Reptile House to meet the new residents.
Later the old lady tells him that her name is Marianne Moore and that she is a poet. She then goes on to explain to him how a poet works and how, for her, the process “begins with watching.” Before she leave Marianne gives the boy a blank book encouraging him to try writing his own poetry.
This is a fictional account of what might have happened on a Saturday afternoon at the Brooklyn Zoo in the 1940’s. Marianne Moore loved to observe the animals at the zoo, writing many poems about the creatures that she saw there. Readers will come to see how the creative process worked for Marianne and will be encouraged to try writing their own poetry. Written in a poetical style, the gentle story is beautifully complimented by the unique artwork of David A. Johnson who uses texture and color to such wonderful effect giving his pictures a magical appeal.
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