Sometimes life and literature tie so perfectly together that there’s a little bit of magic that happens. I feel that way about today’s poem.
You see, I love the ocean in a myriad of ways: visiting it, swimming in it, studying its inhabitants, and falling asleep to its sound every night (thanks to a sound machine as I sadly do not currently live by the ocean). When I met Georgia Heard at Highlights last October, she talked a bit about her new book of poems “Boom! Bellow! Bleat!” and one poem in particular came up in discussion about a special shrimp and the noises it made: the Bigclaw Snapping Shrimp. A question arose as to whether or not the illustration was accurate as most of the pictures found online of the shrimp showed the other claw as the big one. BUT I knew (thanks to recently learning about the fiddler crab) that they were probably ambidextrous (so to speak) in that if they lost their one big arm (in battle or defense), they most likely would grow the OTHER arm to enormous size to compensate. After a few minutes of research, I found out that I was right.
Now, fast forward several months and I’m participating in a new weekly illustration challenge (a new Animal Alphabets series on Sea Life for which I’m producing a watercolor painting a week–my choice of medium). This last week’s assignment was the Mantis Shrimp (which I’m still working on–a little behind thanks to the Lobster that took over 15 hours to complete) and I was reminded of Georgia’s poem. I knew all about the Mantis Shrimp for years, thanks to a funny cartoon about it that I stumbled upon years ago and made me fall in love with it.
I wasn’t incredibly familiar with 2-voice poems before I read Georgia’s book, but since then have gone digging for more. They’re so fun and I just know my students will love them. The performance key (mentioned in my previous Simply 7 blog with Georgia) is helpful in reading the poem I’m going to share today. And just because I also LOVE nonfiction information on sea creatures, I’m going to share her back matter on this critter as well (in the yellow pages). I hope you enjoy it as much as I did (words, images, and back matter!).