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Learn more about the illustrator, Kate Kiesler.
Everything that happens when you go camping can be an adventure, from getting dressed inside your sleeping bag on a chilly morning, to meeting a moose to sharing secrets in a tent at night. Kristine O’Connell George turns the memorable moments of a family outing into spirited, evocative verse, and Kate Kiesler’s vivid paintings provide a cast of characters and the perfect setting. The captivating poems and pictures in Toasting Marshmallows will leave readers with wonderful memories of a camping trip—even if they’ve never been on one!
Toasting Marshmallows—and campfires—in the Classroom
Teacher's Guide: Writer's notebooks, cinquains, and flashlight poems
S'Mores: Resources for camping units
After previewing numerous 'virtual campfires' for classroom and library campouts, the winner is:
Natures Fireplace - Campfire Ambience
ABOUT WRITING Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems
Camping. What is it about camping? You get dirty, sleep on the ground, and are often either too cold or too hot. Not to mention mysterious night noises and menacing mosquitoes.
Yet, what I remember about camping is the magic. The way the sun shines through a tent in the morning. Squirrels, chipmunks, moose, and deer - soft green moss under a tree. The quiet moments where I slow down, breathe deeply, and reconnect with the earth. I feel very "small" when I'm camping - an insignificant part of an enormous universe. This feeling of smallness helps me focus and see what is important. And what isn't.
When I first saw Kate Kiesler's art for Toasting Marshmallows, I got a lump in my throat. Kate lived just a "stone's throw" away from the reservoir in Colorado where my grandparents took us fishing every summer and many of the places she painted in this book hold special memories for me.
It's poignant and startling to see special places through an artist's eyes. The color and light Kate captured in "Storm" and "River Messages" remind me of those dramatic Rocky Mountain afternoon thunderstorms I love so much. She was also able to reference two of my favorite vacation photographs: an abandoned cabin near Ashcroft, Colorado, and a '54 GMC flatbed outside of Kings' Canyon. (I wonder if the owner of that "Old Truck" will discover the poem and recognize it.)
Kate and I hope Toasting Marshmallows rekindles your own outdoor adventure memories and inspires you to pack up your tent and head for the hills.
School Library Journal Best Book
NCTE Notable Book
Myra Cohn Livingston Poetry Award
Book Links: A Lasting Connection
Children's Literature Choice
Capitol Choices: Noteworthy
Nominated for the Texas Bluebonnet Master List,
Kentucky Blue Grass award, Indiana's Young Hoosier's award.
3 Starred Reviews!
"A young girl savors the sights, sounds, and smells of a family outing. Whether playful or profound, the exquisitely crafted poems reverberate with eloquent yet effortless language, while the radiant acrylic artwork hints at the awe-inspiring mysteries of nature." School Library Journal Best Books 2001
Starred review, School Library Journal
"...a child-focused sense of wonder...the poems are varied and inventive, replete with marvelous images and universal truths...A terrific idyll for summertime sharing, even for confirmed couch potatoes.
Starred review, Booklist
Infused with the wonder and thrill of living outdoors, these are direct, satisfying poems that will engage kids at school, across the curriculum, or at home."
Starred review, Publisher's Weekly "...This volume by George and Kiesler is as delicious as a roasted marshmallow treat. George's poems shine, the images clear and startling. A "panther cloud crosses the sky"; after a storm, a "confetti of birds"...dance another rain shower." A concrete poem in the shape of a waning moon is exquisite: "Tipping/ a slender/ silver ear,/ Moon tries/ to pretend/ she isn't listening/ to our/ secrets." Readers will definitely want S-mores."
"One can almost see the starlit night, taste the marshmallows, and hear the buzzing insects as words and illustrations combine in this unique collaboration." Christopher Moning, Children's Literature
"Poems convey a wonderful sense of place as a family enjoys the vastness and immediacy of nature while camping." Stephanie Loer, Boston Globe
"Altogether, an engaging trip." Kirkus
"The Best Paths"
"Two Voices in a Tent at Night"
"Max's Bait Shop"
"Rowing to the Island"
"Flashlight" (four haiku)
"Pulling Up Stakes"