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Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle...: And Other Modern Verse
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Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle...: And Other Modern Verse

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  304 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Here are modern poems chosen for their individual excellence and their special appeal to young people. Exciting photographs accent the contemporary tone of the collection.

From lighthearted Phyllis Mc-Ginley to pessimistic Ezra Pound; from the lyricism of Edna St. Vincent Millay to the vigor of Lawrence Ferlinghette; from Carl Sandburg on loneliness to Paul Dehn on the bomb

Paperback, 143 pages
Published September 1st 1990 by Not Avail (first published 1966)
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Karen Ball
I read this in elementary school after ordering it from Scholastic Book Club. I still recall enjoying it immensely. I may have to find it again for nostalgia's sake.
This is a collection of modern verse that beautifully and simply deals with a variety of issues, both deep and emotional as well as humorous. The poems are grouped together in sections based on common themes. The first poem is probably one of my favorites and describes poetry, as well as this collection very well. It is called "Unfolding Bud," by Naoshi Koriyama:

One is amazed
By a water-lily bud
With each passing day,
Taking on a richer color
And new dimensions.

One is not surprised,
At a fi
A nice collection. As the description says, it is perfect for students; the poems are mostly short, grouped by theme and topic into fifteen distinct sections, and fairly easy (with one notable exception). Unfortunately, this collection also gives an academic feeling. It is enjoyable enough, serious enough, light enough, and readable enough, but it lacks sparkle. The poems are generally good, but few are truly great, so Watermelon Pickle doesn't so much sing as hum. I really love the last two sec ...more
Christen Tulli
Category: Poetry

Publication date: 1967

Annotation is posted above via GoodReads

Themes: Family, Memories, Sentimentalism, Excitement, Animals, Connection, Too many to list as each poem is different!

Ways to Use Book:
I love that this book incorporated poems by classic and contemporary poets and immediately thought that this would be a perfect first exposure to poems that are a bit more serious than silly children's poems. This would work very well with fifth or sixth graders.

After reading several po
Dec 20, 2007 Cynthia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
My favorite book. 1966, reissued. This is the quintessential early nature poetry from the sixties and seventies. I fell in love with this when I was seventeen years old. It's an awesome book, filled with all the poems you wish you knew where to find. There was an old LP made of it as well. Barriss Mills, Sara Henderson, Eve Merriam, Rosalie Moore, E.E. Cumming, Dan Jeffe, Langston Hughes and more.
David Schaafsma
My teacher and friend, Steve Dunning, RIP. A truly invented collection, which did the hard work of finding great poems in journals and making them justly great... this book is still the best poetry anthology of its kind, still in print and much used...
The first anthology of poetry that I ever read. Wonderful selection of poems that most children can access. To quote Eve Merriam in her poem "How to Eat a Poem": "Don't be polite. Bite in." Great advice, good book for children.
my favorite used to be "Why Nobody Pets the Lion at the Zoo" by John Cardi
Just finished the penultimate poem in the anthology (I'd already read the last one as it lends it's title to the book)

I clearly recall my sixth grade teacher touting this book and I now regret waiting 40 odd years before finally taking him up on his recommendation.

This is a great collection of poetry for non poetry readers, particularly younger folks. The poems cover a wide variety of topics and there are fewer "clinkers" among them than in most poetry collections.

Perhaps part of the enjoyment
Ricardo Bizarro
Ricardo Bizarro

Dunning, Leuders, Smith. Refelections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle. New York: Scholastic, 1996.

143 Pages

• Lewis Carroll Shelf Award
• ALA Best of the Best Books for Young Adults
• ALA Notable Children’s Book
• Horn Book Fanfare


This book is a collection of poems describing the events in young eleven year old Lonnie Motion. Lonnie’s new life is depicted throughout the book. His new life is brought upon him by a series of events such as: losing both
Kiera Beddes
Genre: poetry
Summary: This is just a fine collection of poems written for young adult audiences. They are fast and fun to read, great for scaffolding to students how to read poetry. You can start with a couple of these and work your way up to more difficult poems through practice with these ones.
Reaction: I definitely enjoyed some poems more than others. That is one downside to reading a book of collected poetry. It is definitely a different experience that just reading a novel. To really enjoy
This collection of poetry is one of the best I've encountered for young readers. The volume features poetry from poets both well-known and somewhat obscure, and offers a range of perspectives on a number of different subjects. Each of the twenty-one sections gathers poems focusing on a specific theme, ranging from family to sports to poetry itself. When read together, the poems in each of the sections provide several engaging voices and a sampling of intriguing poetic technique.

Given that this i
Oliver Radtke
I have recently finished "Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle" by Stephen Dunning. Stephen Dunning is the editor, not the creator of the poems. He chose which poems would be in the book. I think he did a good job at incorporating which poems to put in. They tie together very nicely.I thought this poem book was good and very interesting. It has a lot to deal with nature and even some recently popular poems like, "Little Miss Muffet" and "Hey Diddle Diddle". But they each have there own lit ...more
What a delightful and sometimes bizarre collection of modern poetry for young people! Many of the collection's best poems are ones I've already found in other collections (those by William Stafford, e.e. cummings, Dorothy Parker, and Eve Merriam), but when the book was originally released in 1966, I'm sure it pleased young teachers and English teachers everywhere.
I had this book as a child....and I loved it...I think it was my first introduction to poetry. I lost the book along the way.....and about 2 years ago I found an old copy the same one I had in a thrift store...I will always treasure this book...
This is one of my favorite go to poetry books when looking for poems to share with my students.
Donna Holland
I love this book of poems!
This is a great book to get people interested in poetry. Some are obtuse, some are very basic, but they are all enjoyable little nuggets. I took this on a road trip with me, and was surprised to have a few of my non-reading friends picking it up and reading a few of the poems. It's good to backpack/purse book to throw open when the opportunity arises. The only problem is that this book is, from what I understand, out of print, and so is hard to recommend. If you manage to find a copy, pick it up ...more
Caitlyn Paris
I really wasn't a fan.
I found like three poems that I found decent.
And there were way too many poems about cats. Even at thirteen I would have found the book childish and boring, we did a poetry unit in fourth grade featuring poetry that was much more refined and thought provoking.
I can understand reading this book for nostalgic reasons, but not as someone looking for a decent poetry book.
Although recommended for ages 13 and up, this is an amazing collection of poetry for any age. I was never a strong reader of poetry so used this for myself prior to teaching poetry to fourth grade reading groups. (Don't teach what you don't do yourself, right?) I ended up using one of the poems with my groups and was amazed to see what their minds pulled out. This was just another reminder to never hold back with children.
This collection of modern poetry claims to be geared toward teens, but although I enjoyed the sampling of iconic modernists' work, I think teens might see this as just a collection of poetry (rather than capturing their interest as a uniquely teen reading experience). The book is approachable for teens, however, and could provide a positive poetry experience, with its fine collection of modernism.

this book has an eclectic blend of poems ranging in variety from poems about bats to poems about the social ramifications of inactivity. Most of the poems have little structure, or highly personal structure, or superficial rhythm or rhyme.

Some of the poems were very, very good. Others were very dull. I enjoyed reading about 30% of the poems in this collection.
Jul 18, 2011 Noelle rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All
Shelves: poetry
This is my all time favorite poetry book with my favorite poem 'Why Nobody Pets the Lion at the Zoo'. Yes some of its a younger young adult style, its not all funny, some of the poems are sad but at one point or another every poem in this book has come forward as a part of my life in moving forward of remembering back.
Jennifer Peterson
This is a collection of poems by both well-known and not so well-known poets. I was surprised at first because I thought the poems would have been written for young adults. Instead it is a collection of famous poems that were put together for young adults. It is very postmodern and very fun.
Love this collection. My favorites: e.e. cummings and william carlos williams. This book has been in my collection forever and from time to time words from one poem or another wander through my mind and I pull the book off the shelf and read them all over again.
This book was okay. I didn't really like it, but I'm not a big fan of poetry. It was just a bunch of random, pointless poems that didn't make much sense. There wasn't even really a theme for the collection of poems. I wouldn't recommend this book to any one.
I think I was still in my first four years of college when I read this, but I can't be sure. In any case, excellent collection for lovers of modern poetry. The poets in here play with not only the boundries of form, but humor as well.
A good introduction for kids/teens to poetry. I'm not sure how this could hold an adult's interest, unless the person first encountered it as a child. The book is visually appealing and does cover a variety of styles.
I will keep this book and give it to my grandchildren someday. Wonderful selections for young readers. This isn't all "fluff" poetry either. There's Ezra Pound and Williams Carlos Williams stuck in as well.
This book belonged to my grandmother, an English teacher, who used to read from it to me when I had been especially good. Late in her life she left it to me... It makes me both happy and sad.
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“I told them a thousand times if I told them once:
Stop fooling around, I said, with straw and sticks;
They won’t hold up; you’re taking an awful chance.
Brick is the stuff to build with, solid bricks.
You want to be impractical, go ahead.
But just remember, I told them; wait and see.
You’re making a big mistake. Awright, I said,
But when the wolf comes, don’t come running to me.
The funny thing is, they didn’t. There they sat,
One in his crummy yellow shack, and one
Under his roof of twigs, and the wolf ate
Them, hair and hide. Well, what is done is done.
But I’d been willing to help them, all along,
If only they’d once admitted they were wrong.”
More quotes…