Tuesday, April 9, 2013

It's Raining Pigs & Noodles

Title: It’s Raining Pigs & Noodles

Author: Jack Prelutsky
Illustrator: James Stevenson
Publisher: Greenwillow Books, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers
Genre: Poetry
Level: Upper
Number of Pages: 159
Pub. Date: 1993
The book starts out with the poem that made the book famous, which starts like this:
It's raining pigs and noodles,
it's pouring frogs and hats,
chrysanthemums and poodles,
bananas, brooms, and cats.
Assorted prunes and parrots are dropping from the sky,
here comes a bunch of carrots,
some hippopotami…” (Prelutsky p. 7).
And continues on into a number of hilarious poems for children. Many of the poems are about people and/or animals and some are even about make believe things. The author plays with the language to make the poems entertaining and humorous. He also uses puns and wordplay in many of his poems. Some of the most well known poems in this collection are "The Dancing Hippopotami," "You Can't Make Me Eat That," "My Father's Name is Sasquatch," and "Dear Wumbledeedumble."
Critique: Prelutsky uses many elements of poetry in his collection It’s Raining Pigs & Noodles. The most frequent is rhyme. Many of his poems have that ‘sing-songness’ of the chosen words just as a quality work of poetry should have. For example, in his poem ‘I took a Sip of Water’ there is rhyme within each stanza. It begins with:
“I took a sip of water,
a second sip, a cup.
I filled a tumbler to the brim
And drank that glass right up” (Prelutsky p. 54)
Another example of a specific type of language use that is often present in his works is alliteration. The poem “The Yaks Convened a Meeting” is a great example of this. Here’s a portion of it to showcase the repetition of initial sounds:
“The pigs prepared a picnic…
The bats were playing baseball,” (Prelutsky p. 81).

Response: This collection of poems is a very entertaining one and it jumps right in right from the start. From the title I guessed it would be a funny book and I turned out to be correct. The title made me think about the saying, “it’s raining cats and dogs,” but instead it was noodles and pigs! I had a very visual representation in my mind about pigs and pasta falling from the sky and someone looking up with a very quizzical look on their face. I think that first poem in the book that gives the book it’s name is actually one of my favorites as well. It’s so creative and humerous that it made me laugh out loud. My favorite line is the last one that says after all of these strange things running from the sky like prunes, parrots, brooms and bananas, “I like this so much better than when it’s raining rain.” That line really brings it all together and makes this funny, alternate kind of rain seem real.
Reconstruct a poem Lesson Plan
Part of the charm of Prelutsky's poetry is that the joke is set up almost from the beginning; the titles are themselves often funny or eye-catching. Discuss this fact with students and then begin the activity.
  • Ask each student to select his or her favorite poem title (you may wish to use the book's index for this purpose).
  • Once each student has selected a title, ask him or her to (re)write the poem from his or her own point of view.
  • The new poems should be humorous, but not resemble the original too closely.
  • Post the revised poems, along with a copy of the original, on a classroom bulletin board and discuss what differences and commonalities they share.

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