When I taught poetry last year, one of my aims was to get the kids to realize that Shel Silverstein is not the only funny poet in town. Don’t get me wrong, I get a hoot out of Shel as much as they do (Runny Babbit has to be one of the most hilarious books ever – and so clever). I also know that Shel Silverstein’s work has helped many a kid get excited about poetry. I just don’t think that children’s experiences with poems should begin and end there. So when I introduced their poetry recitation assignment and I announced that I would hear only 2 Shel Silverstein poems, there were many pouty faces. But I was unmoved! I schlepped out giant bins full of delightful collections and told them to get searching. I kept on waving around the Jack Prelutsky books and shouting, “Funny poems! Funny poems!” like some kind of fisherwoman. I was surprised at how few children jumped at them at first. Perhaps it was because they were not shiny and new-looking. Then one of the boys who was having a hard time finding anything he liked, ended up with one of the collections. After a few minutes of page-turning, he took it off quietly into the corner of the classroom library all inconspicuous, the way my dog carries off a treat that is really good to enjoy privately.
One of my super-cute girls did an outstanding recitation of “We’re Fearless Flying Hotdogs.” Who knew that hotdogs could possess such complex emotional lives?
We’re Fearless Flying Hotdogs
We’re fearless flying hotdogs,
the famous “Unflappable Five,”
we’re mustered in formation,
to climb, to dip, to dive,
we spread our wings with relish,
then reach for altitude,
we’re aerobic weiners,
the fastest flying food…
You will find the rest of the poem here: Jack Prelutsky Fun on Jack’s great site, complete with jazzy music. To do so, you must catch the flying hotdog.