Thursday, 15 October 2020

Janice Scully is hosting the Poetry Friday round-up at Salt City Verse today!

Happy book birthday to HOP TO IT: POEMS TO GET YOU MOVING, by the creators of the Poetry Friday anthology series, Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong!

There are 90 children’s poets with work in this collection. I’m excited to be one of them. You can read the full list of contributors here. (High five to the Poetry Friday regulars in the group.)

My poem (p. 23) in HOP TO IT has an interesting back story, and it goes like this…

Back in January, my friend Michael Rothenberg was drawing and sharing abstract illustrations. One day, he posted what looked to me like a monster! I decided to write a monster poem to go with it. I shared that poem and Michael’s illustration at this post.

Michael and I had so much fun with our collaboration, that we went on to do sixteen monster and poem pairings.

One of Michael’s monsters looks like this:

Art by Michael Rothenberg

I saw this monster, with its spiky, blocky head, and what came to mind was the “crown-like spikes” (according to on the surface of the coronavirus.

Micro Monster
By Laura Shovan

It flies through the air
with the greatest of ease
on a jet stream of goo
when your friend has to sneeze.

This monster is small,
miniscule, microscopic.
Its devious plans
are quite misanthropic.

From the spikes of its crown
to the plugs on its fingers,
it sticks to the air
where it hovers and lingers.

It flies up your nose.
It is stealthy and quick.
Now you have the virus.
Now you’re feeling sick.

Invisible foes
are not easy to conquer,
but it helps when you sneeze,
if you cover your honker.


What a joy to have this poem shared in Sylvia and Janet’s new book. Here is what it looks like on the page:

I had to laugh when I told Michael that his illustration inspired my poem, which inspired the dancing monster cartoon on this page, which inspired…

Many of the poems in HOP TO IT have some kind of movement or activity to go with them. If you do not wish to sing “Micro Monster” as suggested, I have another option.

Make your own Micro Monster finger puppet/bookmark. (This one was made for me by my friend, children’s author Casey Lyall.) You can fly this easy-to-craft Monster through the air while you read the poem out loud! Instructions to make your own Micro Monster are here.

“It flies through the air/ with the greatest of ease.”

Micro Monster has great taste in books!


It took 5 minutes to make a Micro Monster with paper, index cards, scissors, glue stick, Sharpie.

32 responses to “Poetry Friday: Celebrating Hop to It!”

  1. Such a good an oh so timely poem, Laura. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to reading through the entire collection.

  2. Thanks so much for this lovely shout-out for HOP TO IT, Laura! We are so happy to collaborate with you again. And I absolutely LOVE this story of the evolution of the monster art– which totally captivated Janet and me, as you have seen!
    Big hug!

  3. Kathryn Apel says:

    Oooh. Love all this backstory, Laura. And you’ve found the perfect craft to go with it! Fun-fun-fun! Of course I also love your poem, and am in awe of your microscopic/misanthropic perfection. (And yay, we’re in a book together, with so many wonderful PoetryFriday pals!)

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Kat! It’s always a good day when I can work in some juicy words to a poem. (Congrats on being part of the book!)

  4. Sally Murphy says:

    I love both backstory and poem. And love the final line!

  5. Jan says:

    This collaboration is monstrously wonderful, Laura.
    I love the alliteration in the first verse, especially.

    Thank you for introducing me to Michael. He & poet Terri are treasures to the universe & fortunately, closer to Home, for us in Tallahassee.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Jan! I love that Michael was such a big part of this poem and that it’s part of a book many kids will read.

  6. Linda Mitchell says:

    Oh, my goodness….and we had NO idea how relevant this poem would be to today! Yikes! What a fun poem, especially since it was inspired by art from another creative. I’m completely taken with creative “conversation” these days. I love getting to see how creatives spark each other. “the plugs of its fingers” actually made me say, “ew” out loud. Well done.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Linda. Collaborations have become an important part of keeping the creativity flowing for me. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

  7. Irene Latham says:

    From robots to monsters… I love it, Laura! Congratulations on the poem being included and for the monster-joy spreading… I love the finger puppet, too, and it’s given me an idea! THANK YOU! xo

  8. Such a great poem, Laura! I loved hearing the backstory. 🙂

  9. Your poem is another way to give a sense of fighting back this nasty virus by covering a sneeze. It helps if you visualize your enemy. Cute hand puppet! What a fun book!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Janice. I’m so happy that this poem is part of the book. It’s been a difficult year and visualizing the virus as a micro-monster helped me cope.

  10. Janet Wong says:

    Prediction: this poem will reduce the spread of COVID-19 by 150,000 honkers. Thanks for your poem and your post, Laura!!!

  11. Ruth says:

    Yes, it has very misanthropic plans! And I love that you rhymed conquer and honker!

  12. Becky Herzog says:

    Love the last line, Laura. And the kiddos and I will give a go at making our own micro monsters. Thanks for the link.

  13. There is much to love about this timely and colorful poem, but it is wholly justified at any time by the rhyme of conquer and honker. That is all.

  14. Your clever poem made me laugh out loud, Laura! And I love the origin story. Images are a great source of inspiration for me, too. Can’t wait to share this with my students!

  15. What a clever poem and I enjoyed reading the story behind it. 🙂 Sixteen monster poems?? You two were inspired! And congrats on the inclusion in HOP TO IT!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Yes! Michael has been pushing me (in just the way I needed) to finish this project. We’re revising the poems now.

  16. Congrats on your poem in Sylvia and Janet’s new book Laura! I could see your last stanza posted in all different places… and thanks for all your colorful art too!

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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