This is the 2001 winner of the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award:
Mammalabilia by Douglas Florian (Harcourt, 2000)
Here is a Digital Trailer for Mammalabilia created by graduate student Megan Moulton.
Here is a Readers' Guide for Mammalabilia by graduate student Holly Koder.
Bibliography: Florian, Douglas. 2000. Mammalabilia. Harcourt, Inc.
Recommended age levels: 6-10
1. Summary of Book
In this book, Florian has provided us with a collection of witty, humorous poems about many different mammals, some of which are not quite your everyday zoo animal. Each poem is about a different mammal and is paired with a simple and almost childlike illustration of the animal. These poems have great rhythm to them, and children will love their rhymes. Florian truly used language and text to his advantage when writing these fun poems.
2. Review Excerpts / Awards
♣ Bluegrass Award Nominee
♣ Red Clover Award Nominee
♣ Great Lakes’ Great Books Award Nominee
♣ Garden State Children’s Book Awards Nominee
♣ Claudia Lewis Poetry Award
♣ Publishers Weekly starred review; “an irresistible homage to mammal memorabilia”
♣ School Library Journal starred review; “Florian has created a zoological garden of delights”
3. Questions to ask before reading
Invite the children to discuss the following:
♣ Have you heard of the word “memorabilia”? What do you think it might mean? Is there part of that word that sounds familiar?
♣ What kinds of ways can you describe an animal other than the way it looks?
♣ The different sounds that words have and make can really make a difference in poetry. Other than rhyming, what are some special ways to use the sounds in words?
4. Suggestions for reading poems aloud
♣ “Bactrian Camel” -- while the entire group reads the poem aloud, have them trace the line of the text as it is printed in the book in the air with their finger.
♣ “The Zebras” -- for this poem, have 7 volunteers each read a sentence in the poem, one for each voice used.
♣ “The Mule” -- have the group read the last word in each stanza, which are the words that rhyme.
5. Follow up activities
♣ Experimenting with poetry
Have the students break into pairs and try to write a short poem while manipulating form of the text in a way to fit the poem.
♣ Animal Art
Have each student choose a different animal. They can research the different qualities of their animal and then draw a picture of it to emphasize a particular characteristic that they discovered.
♣ Performing Poetry
Since these poems are so readable, have each student memorize a different poem. Then, host a poetry reading to showcase their recitations as well as the poems and artwork they created in response to the book.
6. Related web sites / blogs
♣ All About Animals
Find great information about teaching about animals, animal poetry and kid-made drawings of animals.
♣ Poetry as We See It
Find resources on how to teach your students about different poetic techniques with definitions and examples.
♣ Kid’s Corner
This site has many different activities and games to engage kids while learning about animals.
7. Related books (poetry, nonfiction, fiction)
♣ Other animal poetry by Douglas Florian
Florian, Douglas. 1994. Beast Feast. San Diego: Harcourt.
Florian, Douglas. 1998. Insectlopedia. San Diego: Harcourt.
Florian, Douglas. 2003. Bow Wow Meow Meow. San Diego: Harcourt.
Florian, Douglas. 2005. Zoo’s Who. San Diego: Harcourt.
♣ Nonfiction books about mammals
Schaefer, Lola M. 2001. What is a Mammal? Mankato, MN: Pebble Books.
Richardson, Adele. 2005. Mammals. Mankato, MN: Captsone Press.
Kalman, Bobbie and Kristina Lundblad. 2005. Animals Called Mammals. New York: Crabtree Pub.
More fun animal poems
Worth, Valerie. 2007. Animal Poems. Ill. by Steve Jenkins. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux.
Prelutsky, Jack. 2010. Carnival of the Animals. Ill. by Mary GrandPre. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Sidman, Joyce. 2010. Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night. Ill. by Rick Allen. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.