A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt-Guests Renée LaTulippe and Twin Sons


Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon (Click to Enlarge)
Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon (Click to Enlarge)

Hello, Great Readers of our series! Just in case you haven’t visited before, let me tell you a little about A Great Nephew and A Great Aunt. My great nephew, Landon (a fifth-grader) and I (his great aunt) collaborate. I write a poem which he illustrates. We started this collaboration last fall and have had so much fun with it that we decided to invite others along. Landon and I will continue to have a new episode on the second Friday of each month. The other Fridays are filling up quickly with guests. I have created a page on my website to view all the episodes of A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt. Click HERE to visit the page and enjoy past episodes.

Today I’m thrilled to have a double-the-fun episode with . . .

Renée LaTulippe and her 5-year old twin sons, Claudio and Lorenzo

This is what Renée had to say about the collaboration with her twins:

Last summer, my twins took a painting class. The two pieces here are those that were shown in their first public art exhibit.

boys painting
Painters Hard at Work

More from Renée about her collaboration with Claudio:

My sensitive boy, Claudio, mixed these haunting colors on his own, added his special trees, and titled it “The Islands.” I imagine it was inspired by the view of Elba Island that we enjoy from our town in Italy, but the mood is all his.

“The Islands” by Claudio

Claudio's painting
Painting by Claudio

Renée’s Claudio-inspired Poem 

Leaving poem

And more from Renée about her collaboration with Lorenzo:

The following is a poem inspired by one of my joyous-yet-concerned Lorenzo’s many drawings of oblivious dinosaurs.

 “The Dinosaur” by Lorenzo

The King
Painting by Lorenzo

Renée’s Lorenzo-inspired Poem

Lorenzo Explains his painting poem

I don’t know about you, but I would love to have an original Claudio or Lorenzo painting framed for my refrigerator. I’m sure Renée has a whole gallery. Lucky her 🙂

Momma and boys
Momma and Boys

Meet Renée: Renée has co-authored nine award-winning early readers (Moonbeam Children’s Books Silver Award, Mom’s Choice Gold Awards), a collection of poetry titledLizard Lou: a collection of rhymes old and new (Moonbeam Children’s Books Silver Award for poetry), and the workbook All About Homophones (Finalist, IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards) for All About Learning Press, where she is also the editor. She also has poems published in The Poetry Friday Anthology Middle School, Science, and Celebrations editions (ed. Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong), and in the forthcoming anthologies The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (ed. J. Patrick Lewis) and One Minute Till Bedtime (ed. Kenn Nesbitt). Renée is thrilled that her twin boys Lorenzo and Claudio share her creative proclivities, and can usually be found drawing, singing, inventing, wearing capes, and going to music lessons. They recently made their theatrical debut in Pisa and brought the house down with their momentous performances as two of Snow White’s dwarfs (Renée may have invented the “brought the house down” part). When not making stuff, Renée and her boys love to splash in the Mediterranean and observe dung beetles on the beach. Because who doesn’t like that?

Find out more about Renée.
Blog: No Water River
Facebook Page

Thanks to Jone at Check it Out for hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup this week. Head on over and delight in poetry!

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Double Your Fun With a Double Dactyl and a Giveaway

On this Poetry Friday, I have a double dactyl and some information about an online course that you won’t want to miss.

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For those of you who know and love Renée LaTulippe and No Water River (her amazingly amazing website), you’ll be thrilled to hear that she will be offering an online writing course starting April 1, 2014! For those of you who don’t know Renée, you must get to know her. And you must visit No Water River which is truly an amazingly amazing website and a gift to children’s literature. No Water River has much to offer. I have a few links on my Poetry Resource page to get you started. You will quickly recognize Renée’s talent and love for writing.

Renée’s course, THE LYRICAL LANGUAGE LAB: Punching Up Prose with Poetry is designed for

  • Rhyming PB writers who would like a stronger foundation in the mechanics of poetry
  • Prose PB writers who would like to punch up the lyricism of their writing through poetic techniques
  • Writers who would like to learn more about writing poetry for children

For more information, click HERE.

To celebrate the launch of her course, Renée is giving away one admission to THE LYRICAL LANGUAGE LAB: Punching Up Prose with Poetry to be redeemed in the month of the winner’s choosing. Just leave a comment on her blog post HERE letting her know you’d like to be entered. You can enter for yourself or give the course to someone else if you win. Names will be entered into random.org and the winner announced on February 21.

Renée asked me to be a part of the beta class for THE LYRICAL LANGUAGE LAB: Punching Up Prose with Poetry. I was thrilled when she asked and even more thrilled as I worked through the lessons. I’ve written poetry since I was a child but I have never studied poetry. I would find myself feeling unsure and shying away from trying new things. By working through Renée’s lessons I gained new knowledge and new confidence. The double dactyl is one form I had been avoiding for a while. I mean a six letter word with all those back-to-back consonants is scary enough. But learning about dactyls and then doubling it…Whoa, Nelly! I have to admit the lesson on dactyls was the most challenging for me. I think because I didn’t understand a lot of the terms in the rules for constructing double dactyl:

There are two stanzas of four lines each.

  • All lines except Lines 4 and 8 are two dactylic metrical feet in length.
  • Line 1 is a rhyming dactylic nonsense phrase such as Higgledy piggledy.
  • Line 2 usually introduces the topic of the poem, either a person or place. Note that the topic needs to be a dactyl, like the name Hans Christian Anderson.
  • Line 6 should be a six-syllable, double-dactyl word.
  • Lines 4 and 8 consist of one dactyl plus a stressed syllable.
  • Lines 4 and 8 rhyme. None of the other lines need to rhyme.

But after Renée’s lesson, I finally knuckled down and wrote my first double dactyl. 

Purramew Kittynips

Purramew Kittynips,
Lickity Milkylips,
Kneaded her paws as she
Prowled through the house

Hot on a rodent’s trail,
Ended the happy tail—
Snoozed on a rug with a
Belly of mouse.

Looky there, Renée’s bite-size lessons were just what I needed to lessen my stress about stresses and to dip my metrical foot 😉 into the world of double dactyls.

You can see that I’m excited about writing a double dactyl. But since I write write picture books for the most part, in rhyme and in prose, I’m even more excited about what this course will bring to the language in my manuscripts. So make sure you head over to No Water River to read all about THE LYRICAL LANGUAGE LAB: Punching Up Prose and enter the GIVEAWAY. While you’re there, visit the other Poetry Friday links. It’s a wonderful way to spend your Friday.