See Saw Saskatchewan is a children’s collection of poems about Canada by Robert Heidbreder, illustrated by Scot Ritchie (Kids Can Press, 2003.) I found out about this delightful book from librarian Sue Fisher’s blog, Mousetraps and the Moon. For National Poetry Month which was April, Sue featured various children’s poetry books on her blog.
See Saw Saskatchewan is a playful collection of poems that can be skipped to, ball-bounced to, or clapped to. The poems are about life in Canada in various locations featuring activities, or animals, or sights particular to the locale. There’s definitely a touch of Dennis Lee in these poems that’s detectable in such poems that play on Canadian place names like in ‘Niagara Falls':
Thunder Bay storms,
In fact there are a lot of playful references to famous children’s rhymes which you can tell by the titles of some of the poems like ‘Pick a peck of P.E.I.’ or ‘Take Toronto by the Toe’. I had to laugh at the poem referring to my home city of Winnipeg: ‘Winnipeg Mosquitoes’. Yes, we do often have them and in enough abundance, to make them poetry-worthy! There’s a cute illustration of two besotted mosquitoes sucking blood out of a finger, which vaguely reminded me of a line from John Donne’s ‘The Flea’ — “wherein two bloods mingled be” — except in this case it’s the reverse with the blood of one Canadian ‘mingled’ into two lovelorn mosquitoes! Now if that isn’t an image of Canadian love, I don’t know what is.
Do you know of any good poetry books that celebrate your locale? Or play with the funny names of your towns and cities? In Canada, we have some great place names like Moose Jaw and Nipissing, Tumbler Ridge and Nanaimo. See Saw Saskatchewan does a nice job of making Canada a fun place to read about with its delightful poems set all over the land.