Poetry Friday: This Is a Poem that Heals Fish

This Is a Poem that Heals Fish by Jean-Pierre Simeon, illustrated by Olivier Tallec.

Arthur’s fish is not looking well, in fact Arthur is quite worried that the fish could die of boredom.  His mother suggests giving the fish a poem.  First, Arthur searches the house for a poem and doesn’t find anything.  Then he heads out into the community to ask people what a poem is.  He gets answers like this one from the lady who works in the bakery: “it is hot like fresh bread.  When you eat it, a little is always left over.”  But even with this advice, he really doesn’t understand what a poem is until he is forced to try to revive his fish all on his own.  And the fish has a poem for him too.

This rather strange picture book doesn’t hit its stride until page 14.  The beginning sets the stage, but also has a rather odd part where noodles and a rag talk.  Anyway, once the story gets moving, it is lovely.  I truly enjoyed the different definitions of what a poem is and how they all weave together into Arthur’s.  The illustrations are filled with deep colors and interesting perspectives.  They suit the story perfectly.

This is a great book to use when working with children and poems.  It will give children the confidence to create their own poetry and to find it in their own worlds.  What more could you ask for?