Pet’s-Eye View: Writing with GRA’s Fenway and Hattie + Pet Crazy
Happy Poetry Friday! I took the summer off from blogging and I’m glad to be back with you. This week’s host for the Poetry Friday link-up is Michelle Heidenrich Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty. Michelle’s blogging about the International Day of Peace (September 21) and invites us all to share a poem on the them of peace.
It’s been a few years since I blogged about Victoria J. Coe’s first middle grade novel, the hilarious Fenway and Hattie. (Read that post here.)
The charm and humor of the Fenway books (the third title in the series publishes in January) is their point of view. Narrator Fenway is a rambunctious Jack Russell Terrier who doesn’t understand that his back yard isn’t a dog park and that slippery floors are not inherently evil. What a great read-aloud for kids.
Now Fenway is going global. Fenway and Hattie is this year’s Global Read Aloud for early readers. Congratulations to Victoria! (What is Global Read Aloud? Learn more here.)
And how serendipitous for us that the latest Poetry Friday book from Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell is the newly published Pet Crazy!
Victoria and I decided to go to the dogs — and cats. We put together a poetry writing extension for Fenway and Hattie using my poem from Pet Crazy as a model. Global Read Aloud participants can find more Fenway and Hattie resources at Victoria’s Padlet.
Fenway and Hattie + Pet Crazy Mini Point of View Lesson
A creative writing extension for readers of Fenway and Hattie
An invitation from Victoria J. Coe
Reading Fenway and Hattie gives students the chance to experience a dog’s point of view.
Seeing the world from a new point of view is not only fun, but it also shows that our own perspective isn’t the only one out there.
Two people – or two species – can experience the exact same thing and interpret it very differently. That doesn’t mean that one is right and one is wrong. It just means your reality depends on your point of view.
Writing from a point of view different from our own is an even more powerful way of realizing there are at least two sides to every story.
Victoria and poet Laura Shovan (The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary) have collaborated on a creative writing extension for Fenway and Hattie!
In this mini-workshop, students will have their chance to think like a dog, or cat, or parrot as they write a short poem from an animal’s point of view. The mentor texts for this extension are Fenway and Hattie, by Victoria J. Coe, and the poem “Lost and Found,” by Laura Shovan, from Pet Crazy: A Poetry Friday Power Book.
Going to the vet
Moving to a new home
Learning to obey
Ready to write a poem describing an experience from a pet’s point of view? Our model poem is “Lost and Found,” by Laura Shovan (from Pet Crazy: A Poetry Friday Power Book). In this poem, a young cat goes exploring and can’t find its way back home.
Lost and Found
By Laura Shovan
I’m a curious cat.
My gray tail twitches.
I chase bird shadows
from lawn to lawn.
But when I sniff
and know I’ve lost
the scent of home,
I cry a sad song.
Someone find me.
See my collar?
Call that number.
Take me home.
Some suggested “experiences” for young poets to write about include events from Fenway and Hattie:
- Moving to a new home.
- Meeting a new animal friend.
- Being left out.
- Describing a favorite human.
- Something scary!
- Learning to obey.
- Asking for food.
After students share their writing, Victoria recommends these follow up questions:
- What was surprising about thinking like an animal?
- What did you learn about the pet’s point of view?
- How would you describe the same event as a human kid?
Hints and helps from Victoria and Laura:
- Kids can brainstorm their poems using a t-chart.
- Prompt students to think about their five sense as their chosen animal. What would they hear, smell, and see from the pet’s-eye-view?
- The goal is to write a poem, but it’s fine to draft in prose sentences.
Victoria J. Coe is the author of Fenway and Hattie, the 2017 Global Read Aloud book for Early Readers, as well as two additional Fenway and Hattie novels. She teaches creative writing to adults in Cambridge, MA. Find her online @victoriajcoe (twitter/IG) and at: www.victoriajcoe.com.
Laura Shovan’s middle grade novel-in-verse, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, is a NCTE 2017 Notable Verse Novel and won CYBILS and Nerdy Book Club awards for poetry. She is a longtime poet-in-the-schools and the author and editor of three books of poetry for adults. Laura is a contributor to Pet Crazy: A Poetry Friday Power Book, by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. Visit her at: www.laurashovan.com.