Poetry Friday: I Met a Dragon Face to Face


I’ve spent the past week visiting local elementary schools to promote our library system’s Summer Reading Club. I’ve spoken to over 400 children so far, and I still have four more visits to do tomorrow! I’m in danger of losing my voice, but thankfully not my enthusiasm. I love the Summer Reading Club! I really appreciate my system’s approach to summer reading – we ask students to read for at least 15 minutes a day, and after 50 days they get a medal! That’s it! We don’t care what kinds of books kids read, we don’t care what format they choose to read in, and we don’t care how many books they read, as long as they read (almost) every day!

Image result for summer reading

We also don’t give away a lot of junky prizes, which typically just end up in the landfill – we have a couple of contest draws over the summer, and the prizes are books – the very best prizes of all!

I’m so glad we don’t require kids to read a certain number of books to get their medal – kids read at different speeds, and also read books of different levels and lengths, and no one should be penalised for not meeting an arbitrary goal, especially during the summer!

In honour of the beginning of Summer Reading Club, here’s a wonderful ode to the incredible joys of reading, from one of my absolute favourite poets, a man who truly understands and embraces the spirit of childhood.



I Met a Dragon Face to Face
ByΒ Jack Prelutsky

I met a dragon face to face
the year when I was ten,
I took a trip to outer space,
I braved a pirate’s den,
I wrestled with a wicked troll,
and fought a great white shark,
I trailed a rabbit down a hole,
I hunted for a snark.

I stowed aboard a submarine,
I opened magic doors,
I traveled in a time machine,
and searched for dinosaurs,
I climbed atop a giant’s head,
I found a pot of gold,
I did all this in books I read
when I was ten years old.

Image result for reading dragon

Here’s the those lazy, hazy, crazy reading days of summer!

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  • Reply robbiesinspiration

    This is such a great programme. My son’s school also encourage reading 15 minutes a day during the holiday and they get gold stars if they complete the programme.

    June 23, 2017 at 4:38 am
  • Reply bjleepoet

    I really enjoyed rereading this Prelutsky! And, as a former librarian (Music Librarian, The Boston Conservatory), I say, Yay, for giving out books!

    June 23, 2017 at 7:10 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Books are the gift that keeps on giving!!

      July 7, 2017 at 1:59 am
  • Reply katswhiskers

    Fabulous poem. Spot on! And your Summer Reading club is, too! Wonderful that the focus is on reading – not on competitions.

    June 23, 2017 at 9:34 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Summer reading should be about having fun! As someone who couldn’t live without reading, it breaks my heart when kids only associate reading with tests and homework. Reading should bring joy into your life, not anxiety!!

      July 7, 2017 at 2:00 am
  • Reply Julz

    love the poem!!

    June 23, 2017 at 10:54 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Me too! πŸ™‚

      July 7, 2017 at 2:00 am
  • Reply Wondering and Wandering

    Prelutsky really is a master, isn’t he? My Kindergarteners love his poetry. Happy summer reading. Wish there was a club for adults!

    June 23, 2017 at 11:06 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      He wrote a collection of dinosaur poems that was my absolute favourite as a kid, it just spoke directly to my dinosaur-loving heart. πŸ™‚

      July 7, 2017 at 2:01 am
  • Reply Tabatha

    That is a great approach to Summer Reading Club! Thanks for sharing it with us. Hat’s off to you for doing so many visits!!

    June 23, 2017 at 12:10 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      It was a week of craziness, but it’s been so lovely having all these kids coming in and declaring “I know you! You came to my school!” Makes me feel like a bit of a local celebrity. πŸ™‚

      July 7, 2017 at 2:01 am
  • Reply lindabaie

    Good for you for all the visits, Jane! I love the idea of summer reading clubs! The dragon poem is just right for celebrating books!

    June 23, 2017 at 4:23 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Summer Reading Club leaves us all completely drained by the end of it, but boy is it a lot of fun! πŸ™‚

      July 7, 2017 at 2:02 am
  • Reply Linda Mitchell

    I’m keeping this poem for my library! Love it and the work you are doing. Your voice will recover…you are touching kids and their future. Isn’t that the coolest? You never know when a poem or a book or a combination of both will stick. I kinda like not knowing and imagining what it will be. I guess that kinda makes me a poet too. Rock on sister librarian!

    June 23, 2017 at 5:17 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      You got it! It really is amazing, I love it when kids point me out to their friends as “their librarian”, it’s really pretty amazing! And if I can help kids learn to love reading as much as I do, I really feel like I’ll have passed on an incredible gift.

      July 7, 2017 at 2:03 am
  • Reply haitiruth

    Your club sounds fantastic. I love that it’s about reading and enjoying it, and that’s it! Have a great summer! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    June 23, 2017 at 6:40 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      It drives me nuts sometimes, though – parents come in asking for required reading lists, or want to know what books their child is allowed to read, or how many books they have to read. Not everything in a child’s life has to be about grades or marks or requirements, and just because something is done for pleasure doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value! I know they mean well, but oy vey! πŸ˜‰

      July 7, 2017 at 2:05 am
  • Reply Drangonfly

    my kids want to sign up for the Summer Reading challenge at our local library and I’m so proud of my little bookworms πŸ™‚

    June 23, 2017 at 6:50 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      YAY! My parents absolutely inspired my love of reading – they still always have at least two or three books on their nightstands, so they’re never left without a book to read. I love bookworm families! πŸ™‚

      July 7, 2017 at 2:05 am
  • Reply Dani Burtsfield

    BRAVO, BRAVO! No more reading for junk toys and rewards. I applaud your commitment to reward reading with books that will lead to MORE reading!

    June 23, 2017 at 7:52 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Absolutely! I love that books can be shared among siblings and friends, and really take on a life of their own!

      July 7, 2017 at 2:07 am
  • Reply Heidi Mordhorst

    Hooray for daily reading, its own adventurous reward! And let us not forget the role of read-aloud, the loving spoonfeeding which builds the appetite….

    June 23, 2017 at 8:56 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Oh, absolutely! I try to work read-alouds into my school visits whenever possible, especially with the older students. Sometimes parents think their children are “too old” to be read too, and the kids might think so too, but once you start reading a great book, they’re usually hooked on every word! πŸ™‚

      July 7, 2017 at 2:06 am
  • Reply Brenda Davis Harsham

    Yes, oh to be 10 again. Great work encouraging reading!

    June 24, 2017 at 12:05 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Being a life-long voracious reader myself, it’s one of the best jobs in the world!

      July 7, 2017 at 2:07 am
  • Reply Kay McGriff (@kaymcgriff)

    Yea for summer reading! Our library also counts minutes rather than books. They do have trinkets they give away (some more useful than others), but the top prize is a book! They also hold drawings (each participant can enter a ticket after each set amount of time read) for tickets to local events and museums and attractions. Hmmm….I never got signed up for this summer, but I’m still reading every day!

    June 24, 2017 at 12:10 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      I love the idea of giving away experiences like tickets to events and attractions! I wish we could do something like that, what a great way to help families build great memories together.

      July 7, 2017 at 2:08 am
  • Reply Violet N.

    Lucky Vancouver kids to have you as their librarian! Here’s to you and all those who are dedicated to reading and the next generation!

    June 24, 2017 at 3:57 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Librarians and teachers really are everyday superheroes! πŸ™‚

      July 7, 2017 at 2:10 am
  • Reply cvarsalona

    I commend you for your diligence in spreading the word about the wonders of reading daily. Hooray for building lifelong reading habits while enticing students to read with a tangible and worthy prize. The Jack Prelutsky book took me back to my early childhood and how I learned about topics other than those in my neighborhood.

    June 24, 2017 at 5:07 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      We couldn’t travel much when I was a kid, and books absolutely helped me escape into faraway lands, both real and imagined. And being a life-long bookworm makes spreading the love of reading pretty darn easy. πŸ™‚

      July 7, 2017 at 2:10 am
  • Reply maryleehahn

    Hooray for summer reading!!

    June 24, 2017 at 10:47 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      It’s my favourite kind of reading, lying on the grass in the shade of a big tree, what could be better? πŸ™‚

      July 7, 2017 at 2:09 am
  • Reply margaretsmn

    I love hearing about your summer reading program and your dedication to it. When my kids were little, we always did the summer library programs. I’m happy they are still happening. I encourage my students and even plan meet ups at the library during the summer.

    June 24, 2017 at 7:26 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      I like to tell the kids I used to do summer reading club too, over twenty years ago! Their minds are just boggled, it sounds like an eternity ago to them. πŸ™‚ Teachers are our heroes as librarians – we see kids over the summer, but you guys raise readers all year round. πŸ™‚

      June 24, 2017 at 8:04 pm
  • Reply readingtothecore

    This poem is perfect to inspire summer reading. I may steal your idea next year! Thank you for sharing, and happy summer reading!

    June 25, 2017 at 7:44 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Please do! All too often kids turn their noses up at poetry, but there are masters like Prelutsky and Dennis Lee who just get kids, and create the most wonderful kids poems!

      July 7, 2017 at 2:11 am
  • Reply Laura Shovan

    Perfect! I have to admit, I never grew out of this phase.

    June 28, 2017 at 12:57 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Me neither. πŸ˜€

      July 7, 2017 at 2:08 am

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