Poetry Friday: Marshmallow Clouds

Marshmallow Clouds: Two Poets at Play among Figures of Speech
by Ted Kooser and Connie Wanek
illustrated by Richard Jones
Candlewick, 2022

Two of my favorite poets for adults, Ted Kooser and Connie Wanek, both write poetry that is accessible and that makes me see the world in new ways. How lovely that they combined their talents to do the same for children! None of the poems are signed, so I love imagining the process of collaboration with which they were created.

The book is divided into four parts — fire, water, air, and earth. But the first poem, before the fire section begins, sets the tone for the whole book: this will be a collection of poems that encourage readers to use their imaginations.

The focus on imagination is reinforced in the poets’ afterwords, which feature Kooser’s and Wanek’s thoughts on imagination, and a bonus poem by each of them that illustrates how they (and WE!) might use imagination as we move though the world.

The poems in this collection will help to broaden children’s understanding of what poetry is and what it does for the reader. These poems don’t rhyme or have clappable rhythms. They are plain spoken observations of the world through the lens of imagination. They never talk down to the child reader, and the metaphors and similes are accessible and delightful. Who wouldn’t want to imagine their book as a sandwich, with a folded pita for covers? Or a harpist, holding a giant moth and stroking its wings? Or why our pets don’t write?

Whether they are in your lap or in your class, these poems beg to be shared with children!

Ruth has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town … and before we head off to read each other’s posts, let’s pause for a moment to think about that blog name, and send out strong and positive thoughts and prayers to all the people in all the towns in Ukraine.

16 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Marshmallow Clouds”

  1. Imagination is the magic that children can give us. Thank you for this wonderful poem! Jean

    On Fri, Mar 18, 2022 at 4:51 AM A(nother) Year of Reading wrote:

    > maryleehahn posted: ” Marshmallow Clouds: Two Poets at Play among Figures > of Speechby Ted Kooser and Connie Wanekillustrated by Richard > JonesCandlewick, 2022 Two of my favorite poets for adults, Ted Kooser and > Connie Wanek, both write poetry that is accessible and ” >

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  2. This looks like a can’t-miss book. I love Ted Kooser.

    I echo your prayers for the towns of Ukraine.

    Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

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  3. I shared this last Monday, Mary Lee, & it is a don’t-miss collection, agreed! There are so many observations I loved and read again and again.

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  4. Mary Lee, what a stellar book review. I have written down Marshmallow Clouds to obtain a copy. Thank you for your good reminder about Ukraine. Peace to all the not-forsaken towns.

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  5. Mary Lee, I thank for this extensive review of a new poetry book. I know Ted Kooser’s work quite well, but Connie is new to me, so I will be making a new friend when I purchase the book. The poems sound very appealing to me.

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  6. I’m a Ted Koosier fan…but I don’t know this other poet, Wanek. Thanks for the tip. Poems are literally medicine for the world right now.

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  7. How did I not know about this book? I love Ted Kooser’s poetry. This opening poem — the tree juggling a pie — wonderful what it says about keeping the mind in a state of imaginative play.

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  8. I soooo want to get my hands on this one. Love Ted Kooser and now I must get to know Connie Wanek better. Thanks, Mary Lee!

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