One thought on “The Animals

  1. Jamie Blake says:

    The Animals by Michio Mado is a collection of poems. The poems are about common animals such as Elephants, and Giraffes, and then there are also poems about a sea cucumber. Every page has a new poem written on each page in two different ways. Not only are these poems written in English, but they are written in Japanese as well. I really enjoy how the book has both the English, and the Japanese versions of the poem side by side allowing readers to compare the English words to the Japanese symbols. I can see children who are native English speakers really enjoy looking at the Japanese symbols.
    A great project to do with your class is to have them write a poem, similar to ones in The Animal and then translate their words into Japanese symbols. My favorite poem from The Animals is “An Ant” the second stanza is my favorite, “life is life to any creature big or small. The difference is only in the size of its container, and mine happens to be ridiculously enormously big.” Something else that you could do with a class is to have them write poetry comparing themselves to an animal of their choice.
    This is a great book to use, especially during such an active time in Japanese history. Children hear in the news, and through conversation about all of the tsunamis, radiation leakage and earthquakes, but they never really learn about Japanese culture. This is a great book to use to introduce a unit of study on Japan and its culture, and all of the critical issues occurring there at this time. Most think that when they teach about critical issues they only need to focus on the social studies aspect of these issues, but using poetry may be a very effective way for some to get into learning about such issues.

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