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

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  382 Ratings  ·  66 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 1974 by Scholastic Book Services (first published 1966)
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(showing 1-30 of 676)
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Dec 04, 2010 Jenna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Karen Ball
Mar 02, 2012 Karen Ball rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 25, 2015 Jordan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah, another adult's selection of poetry that is sure to engage the youths.

Sometimes sweet, sometimes a snooze-fest.

And, mercifully, very few sports poems.

I will pick and choose from this collection, and avoid the exoticization of race around page 57.

Buy this title from Powell's Books.
Rebecca McNutt
Mar 01, 2016 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: photography, art, poetry
A combination of poetry and photography, this book has a lot of wonderful work inside, all about different things and each one with its own story to tell.
Sep 07, 2014 Tristan rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
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
Jul 27, 2014 Christen Tulli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edsl520
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 it was amazing  ·  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
Sep 09, 2012 David Schaafsma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
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...
Sep 18, 2007 Dave rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kidlit, potree
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.
Jun 26, 2007 Jen rated it really liked it
my favorite used to be "Why Nobody Pets the Lion at the Zoo" by John Cardi
Dec 18, 2015 Sharla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has been on my shelf since I was twelve or so. I am one of those people, who keep some books a long time. I hadn't read it recently but considered it to be a keeper and so it traveled with me through all my gypsy meanderings. The cover is a little the worse for wear and the pages are brown and brittle but carefully I turned them and reflected again on the watermelon pickle and "that summer when unicorns were still possible." This is a nice little collection of poetry featuring several ...more
Mar 25, 2012 Stephen rated it really liked it
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
Jul 18, 2009 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 01, 2013 Oliver Radtke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Renee Clark
Feb 22, 2015 Renee Clark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I think that this contains a nice collection of poems. The poems in this book are mostly grouped together by themes. I think that these poems are good for beginner readers of poetry and probably most suitable for fifth graders or above due to the more serious tone. I gave this a four out of ten because of the range of subjects covered and perspectives given. This makes it easy for readers to make connections in some way. I also like that they are short, but still fun to read.
Aug 27, 2015 Andria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My mom gave me this book when I was 5 or 6 years old. Too young, really, to understand most of the poems, but still I read them over and over. It was my first introduction to Carl Sandburg, William Carlos Williams, E.E. Cummings, Langston Hughes, and Dorothy Parker. An excellent collection that stands the test of time, even if the black and white photos that illustrate it don't.
Nov 12, 2014 Dominic rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
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.
Robyn Blanpied
Jul 20, 2015 Robyn Blanpied rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most amazing introduction to poetry ever! Written back when teams of educators were hard at work making America's public education the best. Amazingly broad, balanced and forward looking, I still cherish this slim volume. Teacher's guides in the annex are wonderful tools.
Jul 15, 2015 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this book,"Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle...," a collection of 134 modern poems (prior to publication date of 1967) culled from 1200 gathered over four years. Although meant for young readers, that means, I think, young at heart.
Glorianne Roccanova
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...
Ernest Solar
My favorite poems in this collection were Catalogue by Moore, Dreams by Hughes, and of course Reflections on a Gift Of Watermelon Pickle Received from a Friend Called Felicity by Tobias, because Unicorns are always possible!
Lynne Knaze
Feb 23, 2016 Lynne Knaze rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthology, poetry
One of my favorite books of poetry with a little something for everyone. Just open up and start reading!
Ray Johns
Nov 26, 2015 Ray Johns rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this favorite poetry anthology of my childhood up once again to see if its fluidity of startling verse and syntax still awakened a passionate attention in me. It did! Summers I loved came alive and mixed with the season that I'm enjoying now. Eve Merriam , "How To Eat A Poem" :
Don't be polite.
Bite in.
Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice
that may run down your chin.
It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are.
You do not need a knife or fork or spoon
or plate or napkin or table cl
Mar 12, 2014 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This is one of my favorite go to poetry books when looking for poems to share with my students.
Gena Lott
Apr 15, 2015 Gena Lott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
A nice selection of poetry for young people.
Donna Holland
Jun 12, 2014 Donna Holland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book of poems!
May 21, 2013 Emery rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, read-in-2013
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
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Share This Book

“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.”
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