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Hailstones and Halibut Bones

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  1,027 ratings  ·  137 reviews
Hailstones And Halibut Bones, Mary O'Neill's renowned 1961 work of poetry about the colors of the spectrum, has become a modern children's classic. Leonard Weisgard's lovely illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to the poems. ...more
Hardcover, 59 pages
Published 1961 by Doubleday Books
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Average rating 4.31  · 
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 ·  1,027 ratings  ·  137 reviews

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Nov 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture, poetry
These poems were okay (except for using "an Indian" as an example of the color Red. C'mon O'Neill, even leaving political correctness aside Native Americans are not actually carmine). They didn't do much for me, but I see many people really liked them, so ymmv.

I had the 1989 reissue with illustrations by John Wallner, which are completely different from the original. I think the original Leonard Weisgard illustrations did a better job of depicting the colors.

Also, Wallner, you need to be a bit m
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Hilary by: Cheryl
We really enjoyed this book, luckily we bought a copy with the original illustrations which are wonderful and fit perfectly with the book. Two or three pages on each colour tell you the obvious-things that are that colour, and the not so obvious-feelings, sounds and experiences. Although the poetry isn't wonderful, we enjoyed the thoughts behind the words and look forward to making some of our own. Lovely, creative book. ...more
May 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: children
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: M & J
Shelves: own, childhood, poetry
This was given to me by friends of my parents when I was very small. It seemed like a fuddy-duddy book, but I absolutely loved it. I don't think I was reading yet, or had just started, so my mother read it with me. I'm happy to see it's a classic and still around. I can still see some of the illustrations in my mind's eye even though I haven't opened the book in 200 years. ...more
Nov 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picturebooks, poetry
Beautiful verses creating lovely images in a single hue. This is a wonderful going to bed book for my son, it's extremely soothing. Unfortunately it puts my mom to sleep faster than it does him, so she can't use it. I however can read it over and over.

The title poem:

What is White?
White is a Dove
And lily of the valley
And a puddle of milk
Spilled in an alley---
A ship's sail
A kite's tail
A wedding veil
Hailstones and
Halibut bones
And some people's
The hottest and most blinding li
I hope to get the original Leonard Weisgard art. A reviewer who gave The Little Bookroom five stars mentioned this as another beloved touchstone of her childhood.
Ok, I was given the Wallner edition by Washoe. The pictures are lovely. But I can't rate the book. It reminds me of The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. I should love both of them, but I actually despise them. Why?

Because they *decree.* "Content is gray, and sleepiness, too." Says who!? *I* say sleepiness is a warm brown, tbh
Dec 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Not the best poetry ever, but still good for getting children's imaginations going! I enjoyed the original illustrations by Leonard Weisgard, but I'm interested in reading the edition illustrated by John Wallner as well.
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is fantastic for teaching poetry. I love it. It's good for description, metaphor, 5 senses, etc, and my students have really enjoyed reading the short poems. ...more
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books, poetry
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love the illustrations and color. The poems are good. They made me think of colors in a different way.

Unlike another reviewer I didn't feel like I was being dictated to but encouraged to think about colors and see them differently. Just my opinion.

Do agree with another reviewer - the reference to "red is an Indian" was jarring and took points off.
Dec 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, poetry
This is an excellent book, and I love the color poems. They are well written and they rhyme, too. I also thought is was funny to read the introduction in the book and see that publishing Hailstones and Halibut Bones was almost a mistake. The author was due with some work that was not yet ready. So her publisher came over to her house and took a look around in hope of finding SOMETHING she could use. That's when her publisher found a bunch of poems all stuffed in a desk drawer that the author, Ma ...more
Erin Brunk
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
In Mary O'Neills collection, Hailstones and Hailbut Bones, she explores all the different colors of the rainbow through poetry and connecting to physical sensations. She gives voice to colors and it enriches the experience of reading these poems.

This collection is great for middle schoolers as it introduces poetry in an easy way. Middle school students are quick to get overwhelmed, so often times you cannot dunk them in head first. Giving students poetry that is easy to get into, while touching
Mar 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Love the illustrations, the poetry not so much. As several other readers pointed out, the use of "red Indian" was startling and interrupted the flow. ...more
May 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My mom send me down to her shelves to grab some books for Ezra and I found this! I haven't seen it in ages but just seeing the cover brought back a flood of memories. This was my FAVORITE poetry book, I read it over and over. I loved the illustrations too! These are wonderful children's poems; they are easy to read aloud, the metaphors are simple easy to understand, and they all rhyme. (Who gets non-rhyming poetry as a kid?) I remember my favorite poem was White. I think now it's Purple.

Nov 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: jfic
Another Leonard Weisgard illustrated book -- I picked this to get from the library out of his illustrated work simply on title alone. The poem by O'Neill definitely has some nice moments; unfortunately it's dated and tells us that Indians are Red and Babies are Pink. But otherwise sweet and even goes beyond the basic iamges that you might expect in many poems about colors for children: "You can smell blue / In many a thing: / Gentian and larkspur / Forget-me-nots, too. / And if you listen / You ...more
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry-plays
The most classic of all classic poetry books. Great to possibly pair nowadays with "The Black Book of Colors." This is one of those poetry books that redefines poetry in school. So many of the great poetry books did that for this genre…Shel Silverstein, Judith Viorst, Jack Prelutsky, and, of course, Dr. Seuss.

This one is so old, I'm afraid that too many people don't even know about it. So, that is why I decided to post on it. Her idea to bring the abstract world of colors into the more concrete
Mar 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful and vibrant book depicting, through poetry, 12 basic colors. It was first printed in 1961, but has been reprinted over and over since then. And it is no wonder why. The author takes us through these colors that we see everyday, but she helps us better recognize that "each has a taste, and each has a smell, and each has a wonderful story to tell..." I loved the simple but descriptive poetry and found myself changing what I thought my favorite color was based on each colors des ...more
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Hailstones and Halibut Bones is both my favorite book, in the sense that it's one of my favorite works, and my favorite book, in the sense that the copy that I own is my favorite physical book that I own. I got it from my grandparents for Christmas in 1992. It has beautiful illustrations, and I've treasured it ever since.

But I digress. The book itself has a poem about each color. Every poem is fantastic. And every color is painted as something beautiful and interesting and multifaceted, even the
Billie Kelpin
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read one of these poems when I was in grade school and one line kept coming back to me through the years: ("It covers up, the run-down street, the broken cup". I never knew where the poem was from and searched on the web for years. Eventually google analytics became so good, that I found the name of the book through searching just those lines. The book focuses on each color and I just love the meaning it gives to each. ...more
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it
It was very good and I would feel the colors because of the perfect metaphors.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful sensory color poems. A classic.
Cay Denise
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fun - and read this as part of my Senior Thesis work on the psychological aspects of color.
A nice and simple poetry book of colours.
Margaret Chind
Mar 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Margaret by: Memoria Press Junior Kindergarten

Through the recommendations of Memoria Press in their curriculum package it is amazing what is possible to provide in a pre-school or Junior Kindergarten experience and I’d say the bulk of the best of it is within the literature and poetry section. Since there are 33 weeks and 34 literature selections, let me start with telling you about the poetry because of this, there is really only three. Two, however that you use on a regular basis throughout the year of curriculum in the lesson plans. The

Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful in both poetry and illustrations!

On page 28, when talking about the color blue, I thought it was interesting that blue could be either cold or hot (like welding torch flame). I liked some of the the other things she said about black, gray, and red.

When I was little, I used to say that red was my favorite color, but I also like blue with it. And now I can’t really decide! There’s not a color I don’t like.
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
The poems in this book are absolutely beautiful, I loved reading it when I was a child and I even brought it to school once just so that my classmates could enjoy the poetry. And I was 5 at the time.
I can't wait to have it again since I lost it many years ago, so I can read it again and again, and to my children when the day comes.
Megan Markham
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was in the children’s book collection my siblings had but it weirdly felt too mature at times for them. The elementary idea of color poems was not mirrored in the language this book used and so the book went over the heads of my young siblings but the art was gorgeous and the poetry was fine. A very quick read that is very cohesive.
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youth, art
Loved the illustrations, probably a bit more than the poems, but that's me. Never read the older version, but the artist chosen for this edition was perfect. Each poem is about a color. Need to read to appreciate...but I do agree with other reviewers about the "red" Indian. It stopped me so I lost the flow. ...more
Sofia Seledkov
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O'Neill , 1961. Although this poem book may be a little outdated, it is authentic poetry. Because this poem book was published in 1961, I probably would not use this in a classroom.. (there are some racist aspects which I do not agree with). I actually would say that the poetry isn't even that great, but it definitely would get a child to think. #classic ...more
Tandava Graham
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, illustrations
I came across this book in one of our school classrooms and just fell in love with it. The second edition has gorgeous illustrations by John Wallner (I don’t know what the ones in the original edition were like). Each poem is about a color, and they’re all in the same, simple, kid-friendly form, but they all have at least one or two beautifully synesthetic surprises in them.
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is our second time to read through this poetry book, and we enjoy it more each time. Each poem is about a specific color, ("What is White?) then describes the color in the most beautiful way, including imagery, feelings, smells. It's a wonderful little book and we look forward to poetry time every day in our homeschool! ...more
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Mary ONeill was raised in what she describes as a wonderful barn of a Victorian house in Berea, Ohio, where she wrote and directed plays for her younger brothers and sisters . She was educated at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, and Western Reserve in Cleveland and the University of Michigan. Mrs. ONeill entered the advertising field and became a partner in her own advertising agency. She retired from ...more

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