Gerber’s collection of poetry in Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More! Poems For Two Voices is as bright and airy as a Spring day. With a total of 18 pieces of poetry to be shared in two voices, readers will be delighted to learn about how plants and insects need each other just as one reader needs the voice of the other.
Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More! Poems for Two Voices incorporates science and performance poetry. The poetry is bouncy, and almost seems to buzzzzzzz! From poppies and pansies to bumble bees and honey bees, the poetry brings a new spin to the process of pollination, metamorphosis, and how insects and plants rely on each other to sustain the species. Gerber’s use of performance poetry lends itself quite well to teaching students about the interdependence of plant life and other species, as the two readers are converse with each other through the poem. This is especially evidenced in the poem “Bedmates”.
Stop eating my compost!
It’s my autumn snack.
It’s my winter blanket, and I want it back!
Your bloom time is over. You look nearly dead.
I’ll be back next summer – get out of my bed!
I’ll have to come first to plow up the ground.
without my help, Flower, you’d not be around.
Okay! You can stay, Worm.
But where will you go
when wintertime comes and it starts to snow?
I’ll rest, just as you do. I’ll tunnel down dep,
curl up near your roots, and have a long sleep.
In the meantime, dear Worm, I’ll kindly feed you.
Thanks, Flower. Don’t mind if I do!
Each poem serves as a mini-lesson. In “Now We’re Sleepy” and “New Baby” readers learn about the life cycle of a butterfly.
Now We’re Sleepy
I am drowsy.
I am sleepy.
Both of us have had our fill
Of crawling, creeping, eating.
It’s time now to be still.
I’m curling up beneath a leaf.
I’m snuggling down to nap.
No more crunching.
No more chewing.
No more drinking milkweed sap.
Hey! Are you asleep yet?
No, I’m in a sack! What’s this?
It’s what our skin turned into.
It’s called a chrysalis.
I feel cozy in this thing.
Mine’s exactly the right size.
Good night. Sweet dreams.
Sleep tight now.
Soon, we’ll be butterflies!
That’s an odd-looking leaf
Hanging from that old tree.
What could that strange thing possibly be?
It’s wiggling. Waggling.
Looks ready to burst.
Let’s hunker down low.
Prepare for the worst!
See! Something popped out.
I’m shaking with dread.
I hope we’ll be safe in this flower bed.
Look now! It’s gorgeous.
Eek! It’s flapping nearby!
It’s coming to visit.
Eugene Yelchin’s vibrant illustrations using graphite and gouache on watercolor paper create the feeling of traipsing through the garden. The bright colors contrast and complement the poetry beautifully. Yelchin alternates the colors used in the two voices in the title of the poems, further highlighting the interdependence between the two voices.
Science teachers could use this to teach pollination and metamorphosis.
Students could be given a pairing and asked to research their interdependence and then create a poem in two voices. Pair with Joyful Noise by Paul Fleischman to model poetry written in two voices.
This collection would make an excellent choice to use with students who are reluctant to read poetry out loud or share with the class.
This collection would also serve as an excellent readers’ theater. What fun students would have pretending to be bees or ladybugs!