Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I am Phoenix

A. Title: I Am Phoenix

B. Author: Paul Fleischman

C. Illustrator: Ken Nutt

D. Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

E. Genre: Poetry Books - Informational Texts - Picture

F. Reading Level: Upper Elementary, Grades 5+

G. Summary: Paul Fleischman wrote this book after he wrote his Newbery Medal for Joyful Noises: Poems for Two Voices. Just like that book, I Am Phoenix is also a book for two voices. However, there are two things that are different between books. I Am Phoenix is about birds, instead of insects, and the poems are written about the birds, not in the birds' voice. The poems discuss the way different birds move, where they live or habitat, distinct characteristics, birds of prey's hunting habbits, etc. The poems have a lot of onomatopoeia words like fluttering and flitters, a lot of words that give you great sensory details. The illustrations are amazing and are done by the same person who did the illustrations for Joyful Noises. Just like its brother book, I am Phoenix has illustrations that are sketches and are very elaborate. Ken Nutt has some great at night sketches, especially for the poem "The Wandering Albatross," which has a gorgeous ocean, ship, and a detailed clear, starry sky.

H. Response: Just like Joyful Noises: Poems for Two Voices, I really enjoyed I Am Phoenix. Both book have great teaching opportunities, but this book has a lot of older classroom applications that pop out to me as well. Like I touched on in the above section, the illustrations are great, pretty much captivating. There is a great sketch of a man pulling a stallion and you can see every detail in the man, the stallion, and the dry, cracking mud they're walking on. There are poems and sketches on birds like finches, albatrosses, pigeons, doves, the phoenix, sparrows, and the list goes on. The poems were also really informative, and by the end of the book I had learned something new about pretty much every bird I read about in the book.

I. Teaching Ideas: There are a ton of teaching ideas that I can think of off the top of my head before ever looking for a lesson plan. For younger students, group projects on birds or habitats would be great; that doesn't even have to be restricted to the younger grades. This book is definitely more difficult than Joyful Noises and so I think it would be most useful in upper elementary school and middle school. The book has great references and information on habitats, environments, survival characteristics, and the list goes on. The class could split into groups, make costumes and have an oral presentation of their poem and their research. The students could do a general research project on the bird, or get even more specific and do a more specific topic like just habitats, characteristics, etc. Then there are also a ton of Language Arts and English applications: copying the poem format, studying terms like onomatopoeia, and again the list keeps going. This is definitely another great addition of Paul Fleischman's books for the classroom.

No comments: