Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Book Love: "Bellies, Bones, and Paws" from I AM SOMEONE ELSE

Thanks to Karen Boss I feel like I've been celebrating this book's arrival for the last month, but today's the day it finally hits bookstore shelves! To honor the occasion, I'm excited to share my own contribution to this charming collection of poems about pretending.

Bellies, Bones, and Paws
Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

I button up my lab coat,
scrub my hands with soap,
check the day's appointments,
and grab my stethoscope.

Some patients will be nervous,
legs quivering like leaves.
I'll give them treats and cuddles
to make them feel at ease.

I'll look at teeth, eyes, and ears,
listen to their hearts,
examine bellies, bones, and paws,
write details on their charts.

When the workday's over,
and my lab coat's shedding fur,
I'll remember every thank you—
every nuzzle, kiss, and purr.

From I AM SOMEONE ELSE, collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Chris Hsu (Charlesbridge, 2019).  Click to enlarge.

Isn't Chris Hsu's illustration adorable? I was touched when he told me that the girl is based on his daughter, so every time he's read the book for story time, she knows the page is coming up and says "next I'm going to be an animal doctor!"

Don't miss Matt Forrest Esenwine's wonderful interview with Chris Hsu and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme. You'll find my interview with Karen Boss from Charlesbridge (who edited the book) HERE. And finally, a reminder that this is the last day to leave a comment on last Friday's post for a chance to win your very own copy. Just imagine the smiles on the faces of the children who are gifted this creative collection! The winner, selected randomly, will be announced on Friday.


  1. What an awesome poem! You're so good...it flows perfectly. :-)

  2. It was a pleasure to read this with my coffee this morning. Brava, Michelle!

  3. I love how the cover art draws me to the book and how the text works so well with the illustrations. A great introduction to this new anthology. I can't wait to read it. Thank you Karen Boss for making sure good poems are with us and the children of the world.
    Michelle, 'Bellies, Bones and Paws' is simply adorable. I remember well pretending to be a vet...but that last line. Sooooo sweet.

  4. This poem is so delightful Michelle! Love the title, and the whole poem sings about animals and love for them! My girls were such animal lovers when they were little and now my grandkids as well - thank you!

  5. I love this! Congratulations, Michelle!

  6. Your poem is adorable, as is the illustration--well done!

  7. I especially love your title, Michelle. It is exciting to be in this Lee Bennett Hopkins' anthology and when I saw that you had a poem in it, I felt in great company (along with the other 13 poets I so admire, there was only one I was somewhat unfamiliar with). I think every animal lover be it vet or parent or friend will relate with great love and some humor (legs quivering like leaves!!!! LOVE) to your terrific poem. I have always thought vets have to be extra special people and your poem surely conveys this. Yay for a book birthday!!!!!

  8. Your poem is adorable! Congratulations!

  9. I have the book & love your poem. My daughter did everything with her stuffies, including using lots of bandaids! She, even grown up, will love this, Michelle. Congratulations on the poem & being in the book!

  10. Thank you everyone for helping me celebrate and for all of these very sweet comments!