Push-Pull Morning: Dog-Powered Poems About Matter and Energy

Wordsong. Feb. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781635925272.
Gr 3-4–Picture book poetry, stated by a dog-loving young boy, introduces principles of physics in an inventive blend likely to intrigue some adults and probably puzzle some children. Deft blank verse and energetic, comic line drawings follow the daily doings and fun moments of the dark-skinned narrator, his homely white and gray-spotted dog, and pale-skinned Aunty Rosa, with whom they apparently live. The dozen or so physics ideas embedded in 19 poems include inertia, gravity, relative motion, paradox, and more. “My stinky dog/ remembers friction/ when I tell her it’s time for a bath./ ‘Let’s go,’ I say, but/ she digs her claws into the carpet./ My stinky dog knows that/ Carpet + Claws = Friction.” The pertinent science term is stated below each poem and all the terms are defined briefly with short paragraphs of explanation in the book’s concluding “Dog Powered Notes.” Quick references in this back matter to the work of Sir Isaac Newton and many scientific ideas seem geared to adults and may be useful teaching prompts.
VERDICT The dual thrust should interest fans of Peters’s many other books and may invite or challenge pet lovers, as well as readers and teachers of poetry or science.

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