Want help selecting and sharing the best books of poetry for young people?

Want help selecting and sharing the best books of poetry for young people? Here are guides and trailers for the LBH award books.

Friday, April 29, 2011


This is the 1997 winner of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award:

Bouchard, Dave. 1996. Voices from the Wild. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.

There are TWO Readers' Guides for this book presented below.

Here is a Readers' Guide for VOICES FROM THE WILD created by graduate student Kirsten Dees.

Recommended age levels 7-12

1. Summary Of Book

This is a collection of poems based on twenty-five animals using their senses to compete to be the best animal in the world. The five different senses used for the competition are hearing, sight, smell, touch, and taste. Each animal shares its sense that makes it the best animal, whether it is the owl that can see in the darkness of night, the lynx that can hide in the shadows and never be seen, or the orca who can hear through the depths of the ocean. Each animal is brought to life with the realistic paintings done by the illustrator.

The language and rhythm in the poem brings the imagery voices of the many types of animal to life and makes the reader feel how important the animal’s senses are for them to survive. This book is educational and provides an emotional impact on the reader. Before one of the senses is introduced by an animal the reader mentions how humans are not in this part of the book due to not using their senses. Have other things become more important? Why are we not on the pages with our animal friends? This is a great book full of wonderful poems about animals and their connections to humans.

2. Review Excerpts/Awards

*Winner of Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award 1997
*Shortlisted for the Ontario Silver Birch Award
*Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice Award

*Publisher Weekly remarks, “In this grand chorus of one-upmanship, 25 wild animals vaunt their unique senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. Addressing an anonymous painter, each beast has one poem in which to persuade the artist to present its case to an unspecified "Them."

*The Canadian Children’s Book Centre says, “David Bouchard understands how one comes to read. With passion, he shares that knowledge.”

3. Questions to ask before reading

Ask the children the following questions before starting to read the collection of poems:
*Look at the cover of the book and tell me what is this kind of animal and what do you think this animal might have to say to humans? What sense does this animal use to survive in the wild?
*What type of animals do you think are in this book?
*Name some of the many types of places that animals live and tell me what types of animals live there?
*What are some of the senses that animals use to be able to survive? Discuss each sense and ask what animals use those senses?

4. Suggestions for reading poems aloud

*Sit the children in a circle on the floor. Each day read the collection of poems that belongs to one of the senses. Pass the book around the circle, so that each child can read a paragraph of the poem before passing the book to the next child.

*Divide the children into five groups. Make each group one of the five senses. Than have each pick a poem from that sense that they believe is the animal that is the best with that type of sense. Once they have picked their poem divide the parts of the poem up between the groups. Have the children read aloud the poems that they decided were the best of the senses. After the groups have read their poems ask the other children if they think that these animals were the best of the five senses.

*Ask one of the children to name an animal. If that animal is in the book read that poem to the children. After reading the poems ask the children what sense the animal was telling them about. Discuss the animal and its sense. Than repeat the same process reading more of the poems and discussing them with the children.

5. Follow up activities (writing, art, science, etc.)

*Art Project
Have the children make masks of one their favorite animals from the collection of poems. Use white paper plates, markers, and a variety of colors of construction and tissue paper, pipe cleaners, feathers, glue, scissors, yarn and felt to create an animal from the poem.

*Write a Poem
Have their children pick their favorite animal. It does not have to be an animal from the book. Ask them to write a short poem about the sense that their favorite animal uses. How does this animal use it sense to live in the wild and why is it important.

*Science Walk
Take the children on a walk at a local park or by a river. Have the children take a small notepad with them to write down the animals that they observe. When they see an animal have them write down what it is, where it lives, and what senses are important to it.

6. Related web sites

*David Bouchard’s web site: http://www.davidbouchard.com/1Welcome.html/
(Here is more information about the author who created the book.)

*Ron Parker’s web site: http://www.ronparkerstudios.com/2003/index.html#boot/
(Browse the artist’s gallery or find more information about the illustrator.)

*Animals In Print URL: http://www.all-creatures.org/aip/nl-20040811-wild.html/
(Compares animal’s senses to machines humans use to do the same type of sense.)

*Kids Planet URL: http://kidsplanet.org/
(Fact sheets of over 50 species, games, endangered animal fact sheets, and a teachers table with learning plans. There are great ideas for teaching and a place for children to find information about animals.)

*Zui Tube URL: http://video.kidzui.com/channels/Animal+Planet
(Children can watch their favorite animal in a video.)

*Kidsites.com URL: http://www.kidsites.com/sites-edu/animals.htm
(This site is a page with links to many pages for kids about animals, for example Animals of the World, Endangered, Extreme Science, PBS Nature, Print N Go Coloring Book. These sites are full of great information about animals and activities for children to do.)

7. Related Books (poetry, nonfiction & fiction)

*Poetry About Animals

Heard, Georgia. 1997. Creatures of Earth, Sea, and Sky: Poems. Ill. by Jennifer Owings Dewey. Pennsylvania: Boyds Mills Press.
Kumin, Maxine and Pamela Zagarenski. 2006. Mites to Mastodons: A Book of Animal Poems. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Worth, Valerie. 2007. Animal Poems. Ill by Steve Jenkins. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Yolen, Jane. 2003. Color Me a Rhyme. Ill. by Jason Stampe. Pennsylvania: Boyds Mills Press.

*Nonfiction Animal Books

Animals a Visual Encyclopedia. 2008. New York: DK Publishing.
Brookes, Olivia. 2009. An Animal. New York: Rosen Publishing.
De La Bedoyera, Camilla. 2009. Wild Animals. Orlando, Florida: Ripley Publishing.
Dendy, Leslie A. 2000. Tracks, Scats, and Signs. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Gareth Stevens Publishing.

*Fiction (Stories About Animals)

The Kingfisher Treasury Of Animal Stories. 2003. Boston, MA: Kingfisher.
King-Smith, Dick. 1998. Animal Stories. New York: Orchard Books.
A Newberry Zoo: A Dozen Animal Stories By Newberry Award-Winning Authors. 1995. New York: Delacorte Press.

Here is a Readers' Guide for VOICES FROM THE WILD created by graduate student Allan R. Kuethe.

1. Summary

David Bouchard guides readers through the wilds with his eloquent poetry. His words and animals are brought to life with the paintings of Ron Parker. His tour focuses on the five senses, and which animals specialize in each. His poetry transforms one into the very animals he writes about. The Bald Eagle that soars at the highest points can see even the smallest of creatures on the ground. “I can see you there below me.” The Gray Wolf can smell you before you even realize he is aware of your presence. Silence and power belong to the Cougar’s precise sense of touch. “First I crouch, then I spring.” The channeled energy is no match for its game. Still and vigilant is the Kit Fox, listening for the slightest movement of its prey ears tuned in to pick up the softest sounds in nature. The Mink is a trickster, but don’t be fooled. He hunts patiently for the prey that fulfills his tastes. His cravings are for the best that nature has to offer, and he will most certainly find it. “Where I eat is mine to choose.” Bouchard encourages humans to compare their senses to how precisely tuned in these animals are. There are many more voices of the wild for which Bouchard and Parker provide insights, each one carefully produced to bring these species to life for the reader to enjoy.

2. Awards

Bouchard and Parker’s magical project received well deserved recognition. In 1997, it was the winner of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award and the Ontario Silver Birch Award. It also won the Our Choice Award from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.


“In this grand chorus of one-upsmanship, 25 wild animals vaunt their unique senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. Addressing an anonymous painter, each beast has one poem in which to persuade the artist to present its case. After each section (‘Sight,’ ‘Smell’), the framing narrator turns to the reader to point out humans' comparative limitations in a series of rhetorical questions: What of humans? What's the reason/ That we've not been featured here?"
Publishers Weekly

Lauren Peterson of Booklist wrote, “A finely detailed, lifelike painting of the animal accompanies each poem, and five summary pages, each one keyed to a section, feature short paragraphs about the animals. This attractive, well-designed volume will be useful in science instruction as well as in many areas of language arts.”

3. Questions to ask before reading this book

How well do you know your five senses?
How do animal senses help them?
How many of the animals in this book are mammals?
How many of the animals in these poems fly?
Where do the animals in this book live?
What do the animals in these poems eat?

4. Suggestions for reading these poems aloud

Transform yourself into the animal that each painting and poem represent. Imagine yourself living as they live.
Study each painting carefully before and after each poem.
Read each poem out loud and tune into the rhythm the author sets.
Discuss the environment in which these animals live in.

5. Activities a reader can engage in after experiencing this book

Choose your favorite animals and write your own poems about them.
Draw pictures or paint your favorite animals in their natural environments.
Conduct research on other animals and what senses are they known for.
Locate where the animals in this book are found around the world.

6. Websites related to this book


7. Related books for readers to enjoy

I am Raven by David Bouchard.
The Moon of the Mountain Lions- The Thirteen Moon Series by Jean Craighead George and Illustrated by Ron Parker
Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife by Don E. Wilson and David Burnie
National Geographic Encyclopedia of Animals by Karen McGhee and George McKay
Button Up by Alice Schertle illustrated by Petra Mathers
Diamond Willow by Helen Frost

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