Leave Your Sleep

Leave Your Sleep


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A magical double billing: Natalie Merchant and Barbara McClintock bringing music and poetry to life

This collection of classic children's poetry, adapted to music by Natalie Merchant, opens the door to a wondrous world filled with witches and fearless girls, blind men and elephants, giants and sailors and dancing bears.

Leave Your Sleep features a daring and delightful selection, ranging from the beloved (e.e. cummings, Edward Lear, and Jack Prelutsky) to the undiscovered (the young Nathalia Crane). Natalie Merchant's brilliant musical renderings, selected from her highly praised album, share the stage with Barbara McClintock's richly imagined art to create a memorable reading, looking, and listening experience.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374343682
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 11/13/2012
Pages: 48
Sales rank: 721,250
Product dimensions: 8.82(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.56(d)
Age Range: 5 - 9 Years

About the Author

Natalie Merchant is a musician who for the past 30 years has been recognized as one of America's most gifted singer-songwriters.She lives in the Hudson Valley of New York.

Barbara McClintock has written and illustrated many distinguished books for young readers, including Adele & Simon. Her books have been named four times to the New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year list. She lives in Windham, Connecticut.

Reading Group Guide

Listed below are two discussion questions for each of the seventeen poets (plus Mother Goose) featured in Leave Your Sleep. The questions focus often on the poet and sometimes on the poem, and are differentiated with a Grades K–3 question first and a Grades 4–6 question following. Because of the range of interests and abilities in classrooms, the questions are listed together so that you can choose one or both, as appropriate.

Mother Goose
• What rhymes or stories did your family read aloud to you when you were younger? Interview a family member and share the story with your classmates.
• What Mother Goose rhymes or jump rope rhymes can you still recall? What memories are attached to those rhymes?

Robert Louis Stevenson
• Do you remember your dreams when you wake up?
• Robert Louis Stevenson was very sick as a child. He survived scarlet fever, chicken pox, whooping cough, gastric fever, and pneumonia before the age of nine. How do you think that experience might have led to the writing of the poem "The Land of Nod"?

Albert Bigelow Paine
• In "The Dancing Bear," the little girl runs away from home, but decides to go back in the end. How is her story the same or different from Max's in Where the Wild Things Are?
• Albert Bigelow Paine was good friends with Mark Twain. How is the little girl's journey in "The Dancing Bear" the same or different from Huck Finn's?

Nathalia Crane
• Nathalia Crane was only eleven years old when she published her first book of poems. Have you written any poems of your own? Now is a good time to start. Then "publish" them for your family and friends.
• Nathalia Crane wrote several books of poetry before she turned sixteen. Some people questioned the authenticity of her poems. Who are some modern-day child prodigies in the arts, sports, or entertainment worlds? Are they ever questioned or criticized for their early successes?

Ogden Nash
• Isabel (in "Adventures of Isabel") is a very brave girl. Who are some other brave characters in the books and poems you have read?
• Ogden Nash was well-known for his pithy, punny quotes. Which one would you choose from a collection of his quotes for an "inspirational poster"? Now go ahead and create a poster, using your original art or a Creative Commons photo to illustrate it.

Jack Prelutsky
• What's your favorite real flavor of ice cream? Which of Bleezer's flavors would be the one you hate the most?
• Jack Prelutsky was friends with Shel Silverstein. How are their poems the same? How are they different?

John Yeoman
• Read several versions of "Old Mother Hubbard." How are they the same as John Yeoman's version? How are they different?
• Many authors have reinvented traditional stories. Jon Scieszka added a crazy twist to that genre with The Stinky Cheese Man. What is your favorite reinvented traditional story? (Maybe you should pick one and rewrite it yourself!)

John Godfrey Saxe
• If the six blind men in "The Blind Men and the Elephant" were to encounter a car, each experiencing a different small part of it, how might they describe it?
• Making assumptions without all of the facts can be disastrous. Talk about some situations where it's important to know all of the facts before making a decision (elections) and others when it might be okay to follow your instinct (making friends).

William Brighty Rands
• Imagine a "topsyturvey" day at school. What kinds of opposite things might happen?
• If you wrote your own if/then cause-and-effect poem (either realistic or "topsyturvey"), what would happen in it? (Maybe you should go ahead and write that poem!)

Mervyn Peake
• "It Makes a Change" is a nonsense poem where one rhyming word leads to another. Find all of the end-rhymes in the poem. What are some other words that rhyme with these?
• Mervyn Peake chose one of the lines of the poem "It Makes a Change" for the title. How else could he have titled this poem?

Arthur Macy
• Act out "The Peppery Man," silently scolding, shaking your fist, and stomping your feet while someone reads the poem aloud. Why do you think the Peppery Man is so angry?
• What would you do to try to cheer up the Peppery Man?

Edward Lear
• Edward Lear was famous for writing nonsense. Find all of the nonsense words in "Calico Pie."
• Here are three nonsensical recipes that Edward Lear wrote: http://www.nonsenselit.org/Lear/ns/cookery.html. Which words in the recipes are expected, and which are nonsense?

Laurence Alma-Tadema
• Like Nathalia Crane, Laurence Alma-Tadema published her first books when she was just a girl. Which strong girl characters in other poems in this book could be the speaker in her poem, "If No One Ever Marries Me"?
• What do you imagine for your future?

Rachel Field
• Rachel Field didn't learn to read fluently until she was ten, and school was hard for her all the way through college. But she had a gift for writing and succeeded with hard work. What is something you have to work really hard to do?
• Listen to "Equestrienne" without looking at the illustrations. What did you visualize? Now look at the illustrations. How do they add to or change what you imagined?

Charles Edward Carryl
• Listen to "The Sleepy Giant" without looking at the illustrations. Draw the giant you imagined. Now compare your giant to the illustration in the book. How is your giant the same or different?
• Charles Edward Carryl was a stockbroker by day and wrote poetry for his own children in his free time. Former Poet Laureate Ted Kooser was an insurance salesman, and William Carlos Williams was a doctor. Research the lives of other poets to find additional poets who had other careers.

Charles Causley
• Charles Causley lived by the sea all his life. His poems are filled with images of the sea and coastal life. What things do you see every day that you could put into your poems?
• What do you think happened between the time of the red-headed sailor making his promise to the boy and sailing away, and the return of the ship?

E. E. Cummings
• Tell about a time when you went exploring, either at the sea or somewhere else.
• E. E. Cummings is famous for breaking rules of punctuation and capitalization in his poetry. How does his unique style change the way you read his poems?

Robert Graves
• "Vain and Careless" is a fable in poem form. What is the moral of this story?
• Restate the moral of "Vain and Careless" in modern terms.

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