Updated: Feb 7
Poetry tea times are such a great way for families to connect and reposition poetry as fun, informal and accessible. Jack Prelutsky's poem "The Visitor" was a terrific poem for a Poetry Tea time with our 8 and 5 year olds.
We set the table, gathered art supplies in case they felt inspired to draw and then I read the poem aloud. In the poem, the visitor and the narrator are unnamed. Both girls drew who they believed the visitor to be and, upon revealing their drawings, embarked on a debate about which of them had identified the true visitor. They cited clues and requested that I reread to clarify and imagined that they were both correct in their guesses or, in another breath, that the visitor was someone else entirely. They analyzed the pronouns and verbs for details that might point them to definitive answers. We reread again. Eventually, they focused on the narrator. Who was the narrator, they wondered, and why had the poet withheld so much that they wanted revealed? By the end of this Poetry Tea Time, the table was covered in paper and crayons and tea and the snacks we'd added to the table. Both of my daughters were still in pajamas and so was I. And, we'd engaged in the best kind- the most important kind - of literary analysis. We felt excited, curious, frustrated and amused by this poem. We dissected it and then read the whole poem aloud again. We pondered the author's intent and our role as meaning makers. And then, we went about finding another poem to read.