Friday, December 5, 2014

MANGER (Lee Bennett Hopkins) & "Manger"

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Anastasia at Booktalking #kidlit for Roundup.

Now that it's December, I want to share the loveliness that is MANGER, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins with illus. by Helen Cann. It includes poems from several of our Poetry Friday friends, and is really a gorgeous take on the Nativity story.

When I was a little girl, there was no story I loved better than the Nativity. I was one of those girls who never ever played with Barbie dolls but loved my baby dolls well past the age when most girls outgrow them. Anything that had to do with babies, I was there. And add animals?! OF COURSE I loved it.

MANGER is a gorgeous book -- each poem spoke to me. And that doesn't often happen in an anthology! All the expected animals are included, and there are a few surprises, like a llama poem by Alma Flor Ada. A llama! Other surprises I've chosen to share with you today are "Fish" by Lee Bennett Hopkins and "Spider's Gift" by Michelle Krueger.

by Lee Bennett Hopkins

the world's
sudden glee

we cannot leave
our home -- the sea

we will
swish and flap
each fin

we, too,

welcome Jesus

Spider's Gift
by Michele Krueger

All evening long
I'll spin my threads
to place upon the child's head.

I will not rest until it's done,
my humble gift to greet the Son.

I'll weave for Him
a cobweb crown,

and on eight legs

bow deeply down.


And now, an original poem inspired by the book! I wondered what the manger would say....


  1. This is such a beautiful book, Irene, and your response to it, equally thoughtful and touched with love. A wonderful choice to focus the manger's attention on Jesus' hands... what better tools for building the perfect world.

  2. Took my breath away. This is beautiful Irene! Loved "May they fashion a world where even the most unlovable are loved." I bought this book for our school library and since I teach at a public school there was some controversy. I know kids will love it. Wish your poem was in it!

  3. Beautiful poem, Irene -- took my breath away too. Also loved the sample poems you shared; looking forward to seeing this book (and possibly reviewing it) soon. :)

  4. I'm carrying my copy around with me so I can share it with everyone I see! I love your poem, printing it off now and adding it to my book.

  5. All three poems are exquisitely heartfelt. Beautiful, Irene!

  6. A treasure! Thanks for sharing, Irene!

  7. I love the hope in your last stanza - especially these days, when we need hope.

  8. I love the multiple voices in this book -- some very surprising. I think your poem needs to be added in future publications!

  9. Irene--

    Great to spend a little time with you in DC! This is so very lovely!!! There are reasons why the Christmas story has surpassed the Easter story in the hearts of Christians (and many others)--some you mention, like the new baby, the humble scene, the ANIMALS. I won't use this book in my public school classroom, but I can enjoy it for its literary wonders. Thank you!

  10. Every year I buy a new Christmas book. Thank you for introducing me to the one I will buy this year! And I agree with Mary Lee- your manger poem should be added to the next printing of this book!


Your thoughts?