Tuesday, March 1, 2016


It's no secret that I love Irene Latham's work—
          her poetry for children, her poetry for adults, and her middle grade novels as well.

I also happen to love Irene's gracious personality and the authenticity with which she lives her life as a creative artist.  If I could hire her as my personal guru, I would.

Irene Latham was one of Today's Little Ditty's first Spotlight ON interviews, celebrating the release of DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST: And Other Poems from the Water Hole (Millbrook Press, 2014). This year she has two new collections of children's poetry— WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA: And Other Poems about the Frozen Continent (Millbrook Press, February 2016) and FRESH DELICIOUS: Poems from the Farmers' Market (WordSong, March 2016).

I've been excited about FRESH DELICIOUS since last summer, when a few of us were given a sneak peek at an SCBWI workshop with Rebecca M. Davis, senior editor for Boyds Mills Press and WordSong.  I'm pleased to finally be able to share that excitement with you!

FRESH DELICIOUS: Poems from the Farmer's Market
WordSong (March 8, 2016)  ISBN: 978-1629791036
Find at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or at your local independent bookstore.

Let me start by saying,
this collection is as fresh and delicious as they come!

Twenty-one whimsical poems about farmers' market produce are paired with Mique Moriuchi's playful collage illustrations to delight readers from age 4 to 104. Although I won't be doing an in-depth review of FRESH DELICIOUS (Jama Rattigan already did a brilliant write-up on Jama's Alphabet Soup), I'd like to share my personal impressions and a couple of poems.

What appeals to me most about this collection is that it's chock full of wonder.  Several of the poems remind me of the work of another favorite poet, Valerie Worth. In writing her "small poems," Valerie Worth keenly examined ordinary objects to find each one's "mysterious poetry," as she called it,
"...a poetry still wordless, formless, inaudible, but asking to be translated into words and images and sounds—to be expressed as a poem. Perhaps it could be said that written poetry is simply a way of revealing and celebrating the essentially poetic nature of the world itself."  
        — from Lee Bennett Hopkins' NCTE Profile of Valerie Worth
Whether it's a fleet of green submarine cucumbers, basil butterfly wings, summer squash punctuation, or treasure chests of farm fresh eggs, Irene pays respect to that inventive process in FRESH DELICIOUS. With a flavor all her own, ordinary produce becomes extraordinary as we discover each fruit and vegetable's unique and unexpected character. Irene is masterful at capturing both the imagination and enthusiasm of her youngest readers as they discover the joys of healthy eating, right down to the handful of recipes at the back of the book.

I'm telling you, kids are going to gobble this book up... and their fruits and vegetables too! 

My favorite spread from FRESH DELICIOUS has two poems about corn-on-the-cob. When I approached Irene about sharing her corn poems, she sent me a scrapbook page that included this photo of her Granddaddy Dykes standing in front of his corn garden. Isn't it marvelous?

Irene says, "this book is very much tied to my memories of summers spent at my grandparents' Port Saint Joe, Florida home... back then I didn't need a farmers' market, because we WERE the farmers!"

Now, on to the poems.... 

The first one I'm sharing is a perfect example of what I was talking about earlier— the revelation of corn's unique and unexpected character.

Text © Irene Latham. Illustrations © Mique Moriuchi. Used with permission from WordSong.


I don't know

they call it 
an ear

I see

upon rows

of tiny
                                                  Oh, those noses!!! My heart is melting like a pat of butter. 

The second poem picks up where the first left off.

Text © Irene Latham. Illustrations © Mique Moriuchi. Used with permission from WordSong.


Mama says
we call them

for the way
they grow

on the sides
of the stalk—

and tufted,

away from


to the

Listen... did you hear that? 

The sun is saying don't miss out on the opportunity to share this charming collection of poetry with all the special mice, bunnies, and other little ones in your life!

Learn more about Irene Latham by visiting her website and blog– Live Your Poem.
Learn more about Mique Moriuchi at miquemoriuchi.com.


  1. So excited to see you're featuring FRESH DELICIOUS today! Thanks for the link love. That photo of Irene's grandpa is amazing -- such tall corn stalks!

  2. Michelle! Thank you so much for sharing about FRESH DELICIOUS, particularly those corn pages and my granddaddy, whom I miss every single day -- and especially when I crack open a yellow-bellied watermelon. He was so proud of those. :) You make the blogosphere a sunnier place, and I'm honored be featured here. So happy to know you! Also: Love that LBH quote! And Valerie Worth! Her work inspires me every day. xo

  3. Michelle, thank you for raising the curtain to show me behind-the-scenes deliciousness that I never knew before. I love that photo of Granddaddy Dykes standing in front of his corn, and I love the combination of that photo with Irene's corn poems and Mique Moriuchi's art. Thank you for sharing this FRESH DELICIOUS love.

  4. I have this 'delicious' book, Michelle, loved what Jama wrote, too, and now your added information makes it even more enjoyable. Thanks for the "fresh" look at Irene's newest treasure.

  5. Irene is everything you say she is, kind and gentle. This looks like a delicious collection of just right verse. Thanks for sharing.

  6. This looks so wonderful, Michelle! Thanks for introducing me to this title! I knew Irene had the Antartica book coming out, but this one went under my radar. I LOVE the illustrations too--so adorable!!

  7. Thanks for reminding me that I need to get this book! Love that Granddaddy and corn photo (almost as much as the corn poems!)

  8. I'm a big Irene Latham fan. Thanks for sharing a couple of poems from Fresh Delicious. I'm really looking forward to reading this!

  9. Well Michelle, so goes the saga of my computer troubles. I wrote a long piece on this post you wrote. Then, it vanished. Back again for a 2nd try. I am so glad that I signed in to your post today to find you commenting about Irene's blog. I read Jama's now yours and am thrilled to find that you both are as delighted about Fresh Delicious by Irene as I am. Everything about this book is delightful. Thanks for sharing. Tomorrow is my nod to Irene and I will add your review link.

  10. Thanks for the review, Michelle! After interviewing Irene for "Antarctica," I had wished I'd had the time to devote to "Fresh Delicious" - so I'm glad you picked up the ball! Sounds like a fun, inspiring book.

  11. Oh my, I love these poems! Thank you for giving us this look at Irene's new book. Can't wait to get my copy!

  12. It's like opening a new page to FRESH DELICIOUS's own scrapbook... thanks for celebrating this yummy treasure of words and art. (I bought as soon as it came out!)
    Irene is a treasure herself, and I love the photo of her Granddaddy with that magnificent corn. One place Irene's ears learned to listen to the sun, I'm sure....

  13. Oh, this looks fantastic! Can't wait to get my own!

  14. Michelle, I absolutely see the connection you make between Irene and Valerie's work. Both write in ways that help me see anew. Beautiful feature of a beautiful writer and book. Corn noses, listening corn ears...something as simple as corn is now changed. Thank you both!! x

  15. Oh, my. These poems are simply charming. I will definitely be checking this book out. Thanks for telling me about it.

  16. Oh, land sakes.
    Granddaddy Dykes & his tall, tall, tall cornstalks are delicious & precious. I'm so glad Irene shared him with you & all of us. (Reminds me of my own dear Dad's rural Jersey
    garden.) But Irene's summer garden - in Florida, Port Saint Joe, I know that salty place. What fabulous tasty memories she shares.
    Michelle, I love your comments from LBH about the wonder of the world expressed in poetic form. I know he is a big fan of Irene, too.
    Irene is a magic storyteller in any form, but especially in her sweet poem-making for children. I feel fortunate to have bought this very special FRESH DELICIOUS, myself from her presentation/signing at a Georgia bookstore.
    Where she was full of fun, with the little munchers.

  17. Thank you for highlighting this divine book. Irene is a kind, smart, funny human, it's not wonder her writing matches her spirit. Love the picture of Grandaddy Dykes, too!