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Hailstones and Halibut Bones: Adventures in Poetry and Color

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Beloved by readers and critics alike for over 60 years, Mary O'Neill's timeless children's poetry book is a tribute to the many beautiful colors we see around us, and is considered a modern classic. Featuring beautiful poems and deeply luminous illustrations, Hailstones and Halibut Bones is a perfect addition to any home or classroom library. Beloved by readers and critics alike for over 60 years, Mary O'Neill's timeless children's poetry book is a tribute to the many beautiful colors we see around us, and is considered a modern classic. Featuring beautiful poems and deeply luminous illustrations, Hailstones and Halibut Bones is a perfect addition to any home or classroom library.


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Beloved by readers and critics alike for over 60 years, Mary O'Neill's timeless children's poetry book is a tribute to the many beautiful colors we see around us, and is considered a modern classic. Featuring beautiful poems and deeply luminous illustrations, Hailstones and Halibut Bones is a perfect addition to any home or classroom library. Beloved by readers and critics alike for over 60 years, Mary O'Neill's timeless children's poetry book is a tribute to the many beautiful colors we see around us, and is considered a modern classic. Featuring beautiful poems and deeply luminous illustrations, Hailstones and Halibut Bones is a perfect addition to any home or classroom library.

30 review for Hailstones and Halibut Bones: Adventures in Poetry and Color

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    These poems were okay (except for using "an Indian" as an example of the color Red. C'mon O'Neill, even leaving political correctness aside Native Americans are not actually carmine). They didn't do much for me, but I see many people really liked them, so ymmv. I had the 1989 reissue with illustrations by John Wallner, which are completely different from the original. I think the original Leonard Weisgard illustrations did a better job of depicting the colors. Also, Wallner, you need to be a bit m These poems were okay (except for using "an Indian" as an example of the color Red. C'mon O'Neill, even leaving political correctness aside Native Americans are not actually carmine). They didn't do much for me, but I see many people really liked them, so ymmv. I had the 1989 reissue with illustrations by John Wallner, which are completely different from the original. I think the original Leonard Weisgard illustrations did a better job of depicting the colors. Also, Wallner, you need to be a bit more mindful, because some of these look a little... wrong.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

    We really enjoyed this book, luckily we bought a copy with the original illustrations which are wonderful and fit perfectly with the book. Two or three pages on each colour tell you the obvious-things that are that colour, and the not so obvious-feelings, sounds and experiences. Although the poetry isn't wonderful, we enjoyed the thoughts behind the words and look forward to making some of our own. Lovely, creative book. We really enjoyed this book, luckily we bought a copy with the original illustrations which are wonderful and fit perfectly with the book. Two or three pages on each colour tell you the obvious-things that are that colour, and the not so obvious-feelings, sounds and experiences. Although the poetry isn't wonderful, we enjoyed the thoughts behind the words and look forward to making some of our own. Lovely, creative book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lobstergirl

    This was given to me by friends of my parents when I was very small. It seemed like a fuddy-duddy book, but I absolutely loved it. I don't think I was reading yet, or had just started, so my mother read it with me. I'm happy to see it's a classic and still around. I can still see some of the illustrations in my mind's eye even though I haven't opened the book in 200 years. This was given to me by friends of my parents when I was very small. It seemed like a fuddy-duddy book, but I absolutely loved it. I don't think I was reading yet, or had just started, so my mother read it with me. I'm happy to see it's a classic and still around. I can still see some of the illustrations in my mind's eye even though I haven't opened the book in 200 years.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    Delightful!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

    Beautiful verses creating lovely images in a single hue. This is a wonderful going to bed book for my son, it's extremely soothing. Unfortunately it puts my mom to sleep faster than it does him, so she can't use it. I however can read it over and over. The title poem: What is White? White is a Dove And lily of the valley And a puddle of milk Spilled in an alley--- A ship's sail A kite's tail A wedding veil Hailstones and Halibut bones And some people's Telephones. The hottest and most blinding li Beautiful verses creating lovely images in a single hue. This is a wonderful going to bed book for my son, it's extremely soothing. Unfortunately it puts my mom to sleep faster than it does him, so she can't use it. I however can read it over and over. The title poem: What is White? White is a Dove And lily of the valley And a puddle of milk Spilled in an alley--- A ship's sail A kite's tail A wedding veil Hailstones and Halibut bones And some people's Telephones. The hottest and most blinding light Is white. And breath is white When you blow it out on a frosty night. White is the shining absence of all color Then absence is white Out of touch Out of sight. White is marshmallow And vanilla ice cream And the part you can't remember In a dream. White is the sound Of a light foot walking White is a pair of Whispers talking. White is the beautiful Broken lace Of snowflakes falling On your face. You can smell white In a country room Toward the end of May In the cherry bloom. My favorite poem is Black. You'll have to get the book to read it!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I was given the Wallner edition.. The pictures are lovely. But I can't rate the book. It reminds me of The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. I should love both of them, but I actually despise them. Why? Because they *decree.* "Content is gray, and sleepiness, too." Says who!? *I* say sleepiness is a warm brown, tbh. ... So, ok, yes, both books could be used in a classroom to inspire creative writing. Fine. Teach thus: "In Brown's opinion... in O'Neill's opinion... How do you feel about thes I was given the Wallner edition.. The pictures are lovely. But I can't rate the book. It reminds me of The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. I should love both of them, but I actually despise them. Why? Because they *decree.* "Content is gray, and sleepiness, too." Says who!? *I* say sleepiness is a warm brown, tbh. ... So, ok, yes, both books could be used in a classroom to inspire creative writing. Fine. Teach thus: "In Brown's opinion... in O'Neill's opinion... How do you feel about these colors, these things?" But still. If the full book is shared before the students start to write, I'm concerned that their own creativity would be stifled. I *know* mine is. Any attempt I would make now would certainly be only a reaction, a response, nothing fresh or creative. And also, many children encountering it don't even have that guidance. They're definitely reading it as Established Wisdom. And I honestly don't think either Brown or O'Neill intended that. So, too bad, sorry, but: Fail.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    Not the best poetry ever, but still good for getting children's imaginations going! I enjoyed the original illustrations by Leonard Weisgard, but I'm interested in reading the edition illustrated by John Wallner as well. Not the best poetry ever, but still good for getting children's imaginations going! I enjoyed the original illustrations by Leonard Weisgard, but I'm interested in reading the edition illustrated by John Wallner as well.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Asenath

    This book is fantastic for teaching poetry. I love it. It's good for description, metaphor, 5 senses, etc, and my students have really enjoyed reading the short poems. This book is fantastic for teaching poetry. I love it. It's good for description, metaphor, 5 senses, etc, and my students have really enjoyed reading the short poems.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Love the illustrations and color. The poems are good. They made me think of colors in a different way. Unlike another reviewer I didn't feel like I was being dictated to but encouraged to think about colors and see them differently. Just my opinion. Do agree with another reviewer - the reference to "red is an Indian" was jarring and took points off. Love the illustrations and color. The poems are good. They made me think of colors in a different way. Unlike another reviewer I didn't feel like I was being dictated to but encouraged to think about colors and see them differently. Just my opinion. Do agree with another reviewer - the reference to "red is an Indian" was jarring and took points off.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

    This is an excellent book, and I love the color poems. They are well written and they rhyme, too. I also thought is was funny to read the introduction in the book and see that publishing Hailstones and Halibut Bones was almost a mistake. The author was due with some work that was not yet ready. So her publisher came over to her house and took a look around in hope of finding SOMETHING she could use. That's when her publisher found a bunch of poems all stuffed in a desk drawer that the author, Ma This is an excellent book, and I love the color poems. They are well written and they rhyme, too. I also thought is was funny to read the introduction in the book and see that publishing Hailstones and Halibut Bones was almost a mistake. The author was due with some work that was not yet ready. So her publisher came over to her house and took a look around in hope of finding SOMETHING she could use. That's when her publisher found a bunch of poems all stuffed in a desk drawer that the author, Mary O'Neill, had written and collected over the years and that is how this book came to be.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Erin Brunk

    In Mary O'Neills collection, Hailstones and Hailbut Bones, she explores all the different colors of the rainbow through poetry and connecting to physical sensations. She gives voice to colors and it enriches the experience of reading these poems. This collection is great for middle schoolers as it introduces poetry in an easy way. Middle school students are quick to get overwhelmed, so often times you cannot dunk them in head first. Giving students poetry that is easy to get into, while touching In Mary O'Neills collection, Hailstones and Hailbut Bones, she explores all the different colors of the rainbow through poetry and connecting to physical sensations. She gives voice to colors and it enriches the experience of reading these poems. This collection is great for middle schoolers as it introduces poetry in an easy way. Middle school students are quick to get overwhelmed, so often times you cannot dunk them in head first. Giving students poetry that is easy to get into, while touching on subjects that are accessible, such as color, sets one up for success in the middle school classroom. O'Neill does a wonderful job in this collection of poems as each is filled in the brim with sensory language, but also giving color's a certain voice. You can visualize what a color means and says with the voice contained in the pages. This text is a great for using the Gallagher strategy of Sentence Starters. By forming sentence starters that correlate with this collection, you have effectively given students a set up to start writing their own poems with O'Neill's as a model. Sentence starters

  12. 4 out of 5

    Miki

    Love the illustrations, the poetry not so much. As several other readers pointed out, the use of "red Indian" was startling and interrupted the flow. Love the illustrations, the poetry not so much. As several other readers pointed out, the use of "red Indian" was startling and interrupted the flow.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ella

    My mom send me down to her shelves to grab some books for Ezra and I found this! I haven't seen it in ages but just seeing the cover brought back a flood of memories. This was my FAVORITE poetry book, I read it over and over. I loved the illustrations too! These are wonderful children's poems; they are easy to read aloud, the metaphors are simple easy to understand, and they all rhyme. (Who gets non-rhyming poetry as a kid?) I remember my favorite poem was White. I think now it's Purple. (sample) My mom send me down to her shelves to grab some books for Ezra and I found this! I haven't seen it in ages but just seeing the cover brought back a flood of memories. This was my FAVORITE poetry book, I read it over and over. I loved the illustrations too! These are wonderful children's poems; they are easy to read aloud, the metaphors are simple easy to understand, and they all rhyme. (Who gets non-rhyming poetry as a kid?) I remember my favorite poem was White. I think now it's Purple. (sample) ...Asters are purple, There's purple ink. Purple's more popular Than you think.... It's sort of a great Grandmother to pink. ... or maybe Pink... (sample) ...If you stand in an orchard In the middle of Spring And you don't make a sound You can hear pink sing, ... They are all great.

  14. 4 out of 5

    P.

    Another Leonard Weisgard illustrated book -- I picked this to get from the library out of his illustrated work simply on title alone. The poem by O'Neill definitely has some nice moments; unfortunately it's dated and tells us that Indians are Red and Babies are Pink. But otherwise sweet and even goes beyond the basic iamges that you might expect in many poems about colors for children: "You can smell blue / In many a thing: / Gentian and larkspur / Forget-me-nots, too. / And if you listen / You Another Leonard Weisgard illustrated book -- I picked this to get from the library out of his illustrated work simply on title alone. The poem by O'Neill definitely has some nice moments; unfortunately it's dated and tells us that Indians are Red and Babies are Pink. But otherwise sweet and even goes beyond the basic iamges that you might expect in many poems about colors for children: "You can smell blue / In many a thing: / Gentian and larkspur / Forget-me-nots, too. / And if you listen / You can hear blue / In wind over water / And wherever flax blooms / And when evening steps into / Lonely rooms. / Cold is blue: / Flame shot from a welding torch / Is, too: / Hot, wild, screaming, blistering Blue"

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rll52013_andrea

    The most classic of all classic poetry books. Great to possibly pair nowadays with "The Black Book of Colors." This is one of those poetry books that redefines poetry in school. So many of the great poetry books did that for this genre…Shel Silverstein, Judith Viorst, Jack Prelutsky, and, of course, Dr. Seuss. This one is so old, I'm afraid that too many people don't even know about it. So, that is why I decided to post on it. Her idea to bring the abstract world of colors into the more concrete The most classic of all classic poetry books. Great to possibly pair nowadays with "The Black Book of Colors." This is one of those poetry books that redefines poetry in school. So many of the great poetry books did that for this genre…Shel Silverstein, Judith Viorst, Jack Prelutsky, and, of course, Dr. Seuss. This one is so old, I'm afraid that too many people don't even know about it. So, that is why I decided to post on it. Her idea to bring the abstract world of colors into the more concrete, tangible world of descriptive poetry is fascinating for children and the perfect subject for beginning poets! O' Neill was a consultant to W.B. Yeats- can't get much more "real" in terms of a poet than that.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nielson

    This is a wonderful and vibrant book depicting, through poetry, 12 basic colors. It was first printed in 1961, but has been reprinted over and over since then. And it is no wonder why. The author takes us through these colors that we see everyday, but she helps us better recognize that "each has a taste, and each has a smell, and each has a wonderful story to tell..." I loved the simple but descriptive poetry and found myself changing what I thought my favorite color was based on each colors des This is a wonderful and vibrant book depicting, through poetry, 12 basic colors. It was first printed in 1961, but has been reprinted over and over since then. And it is no wonder why. The author takes us through these colors that we see everyday, but she helps us better recognize that "each has a taste, and each has a smell, and each has a wonderful story to tell..." I loved the simple but descriptive poetry and found myself changing what I thought my favorite color was based on each colors description. Accompanying the poetry are rich drawings that heighten the emotion felt with each poem. This would be a wonderful book to use for a poetry lesson or even a lesson on colors.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Hailstones and Halibut Bones is both my favorite book, in the sense that it's one of my favorite works, and my favorite book, in the sense that the copy that I own is my favorite physical book that I own. I got it from my grandparents for Christmas in 1992. It has beautiful illustrations, and I've treasured it ever since. But I digress. The book itself has a poem about each color. Every poem is fantastic. And every color is painted as something beautiful and interesting and multifaceted, even the Hailstones and Halibut Bones is both my favorite book, in the sense that it's one of my favorite works, and my favorite book, in the sense that the copy that I own is my favorite physical book that I own. I got it from my grandparents for Christmas in 1992. It has beautiful illustrations, and I've treasured it ever since. But I digress. The book itself has a poem about each color. Every poem is fantastic. And every color is painted as something beautiful and interesting and multifaceted, even the ones that aren't in the rainbow and that kids don't normally spend a lot of time thinking it would be fun to draw with.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Billie Kelpin

    I read one of these poems when I was in grade school and one line kept coming back to me through the years: ("It covers up, the run-down street, the broken cup". I never knew where the poem was from and searched on the web for years. Eventually google analytics became so good, that I found the name of the book through searching just those lines. The book focuses on each color and I just love the meaning it gives to each. I read one of these poems when I was in grade school and one line kept coming back to me through the years: ("It covers up, the run-down street, the broken cup". I never knew where the poem was from and searched on the web for years. Eventually google analytics became so good, that I found the name of the book through searching just those lines. The book focuses on each color and I just love the meaning it gives to each.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ava

    It was very good and I would feel the colors because of the perfect metaphors.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    Beautiful sensory color poems. A classic.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cay Denise

    Fun - and read this as part of my Senior Thesis work on the psychological aspects of color.

  22. 4 out of 5

    ♥Mary♦Sweet♣Dreams♠Are♥Made♦of♣This♠

    A nice and simple poetry book of colours.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Chind

    Through the recommendations of Memoria Press in their curriculum package it is amazing what is possible to provide in a pre-school or Junior Kindergarten experience and I’d say the bulk of the best of it is within the literature and poetry section. Since there are 33 weeks and 34 literature selections, let me start with telling you about the poetry because of this, there is really only three. Two, however that you use on a regular basis throughout the year of curriculum in the lesson plans. The Through the recommendations of Memoria Press in their curriculum package it is amazing what is possible to provide in a pre-school or Junior Kindergarten experience and I’d say the bulk of the best of it is within the literature and poetry section. Since there are 33 weeks and 34 literature selections, let me start with telling you about the poetry because of this, there is really only three. Two, however that you use on a regular basis throughout the year of curriculum in the lesson plans. The third doubles one week for both literature and poetry. A key element to the Jr. K curriculum, the music and poetry offers exposure to enduring childhood classics and satisfies the child’s intrinsic interest in story and song. The interesting and rich language of the music and poetry selections (yes, even simple Mother Goose Rhymes) helps the child develop a taste for and comfort with the beautiful, stylistic language ubiquitous in the classical education to come. Fortunately, no persuasion or explanation is necessary - the Jr. K student loves to rhyme and sing! The main book of poetry in Jr. K is the Mother Goose. As I said in my opening post, early in the beta stage we started with Tomie dePaola’s Mother Goose which was fine, but were later switched to Richard Scarry’s Best Mother Goose Ever which is fabulous. I love Richard Scarry, we love Richard Scarry in our house. And while it is true that for the Mother Goose portion you could possibly use any of your favorite Mother Goose illustrated works, this is my favorite of all the others that we have on our shelves. Fifty favorite and not so well-known nursery rhymes are brought to vibrant life by Richard Scarry whose bears, pigs, cats, and rabbits perfectly illustrate these familiar verses. From Old Mother Hubbard to Jack Sprat, this oversize book depicts these most classic characters in bright, funny, colorful detail. Mother Goose is a perfect foundation for any child's library, and Richard Scarry is the ideal illustrator to make these first poems accessible and fun. The book itself is huge and wonderfully durable. Richard Scarry is a staple in my household and his characters are very familiar to my children. Having larger illustrations to act out Mother Goose rhymes is just icing on the cake. In the book there is from one to a few more rhymes per page and there is plenty to look at and observe. Often we are to be found having read over our rhyme for the day, discussed it via the poetry guidelines in the lesson plans and then my daughter will beg to go back and read a rhyme for the week before or the week before that. I read through the rhymes about three times, and while she doesn’t have these memorized she knows what the main concept is and is delighted in their silliness and always wants more. Quite a few times I’ve come to find her in our library just pouring over the book and flipping the pages going on. While she cannot read on her own yet, she can remember the ones we have read and they provide her much enjoyment. Overall in my opinion there could not be a better choice for Mother Goose rhymes than the Richard Scarry version, but then I adore his characters so I’m biased anyhow. Oh, and it’s technically a Golden Book, so that’s another point in the plus column. The other poetry book we have is completely new to me and the concepts learned here are more than just on poetry. It’s all about color. Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O’Neill is a different kind of book for my experience, but I like it and I like it alot. It was a little confusing when I was purchasing my copy, because everywhere I look online there is a different cover image shown, but when my copy arrived it was a thin paperback that matches the images in the Memoria Press collages. Illustrated by John Wallner, Hailstones and Halibut Bones is a book for the imagination to soar. Text copyright 1961 and illustration copyright 1989 this book has been around and there is good reason why it is still in publication. The imagery is lovely and flows beautifully. In the study of poetry often it seems I find some people love certain poets that I think are bizarre, but Mary O’Neill’s poetry is attractive to the eyes and ears and I think a great influence on a possible project to try in the future one day of our own in a midst of color or another topic. Now touching back on the lesson plans, we have a page with poetry guidelines in the appendix. These include discussion points for before you read, during your reading, and after you read as well. Through these bullet points a poem can be brought even more to life and taken further and just beginning the educational adventure. With this kind of introduction on a Jr. K level I am intrigued and excited for what we may expect in years to come. Up to this point we have covered the lesson plans, phonics, math and now poetry. Ah, and in case I have confused you by mentioning a third poetry portion, this I mean by one week’s double choice where the literature also fits for the poetry section in Tomie dePaola’s The Song of  Francis. Other things I would love to tell you about include literature, music and crafts... Guess what’s next? Part I – Lesson Plans Part II – Phonics  Part III – Math Part IV - Poetry This post is scheduled: http://creativemadnessmama.com/blog/2...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    Beautiful in both poetry and illustrations! On page 28, when talking about the color blue, I thought it was interesting that blue could be either cold or hot (like welding torch flame). I liked some of the the other things she said about black, gray, and red. When I was little, I used to say that red was my favorite color, but I also like blue with it. And now I can’t really decide! There’s not a color I don’t like.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gala

    The poems in this book are absolutely beautiful, I loved reading it when I was a child and I even brought it to school once just so that my classmates could enjoy the poetry. And I was 5 at the time. I can't wait to have it again since I lost it many years ago, so I can read it again and again, and to my children when the day comes. The poems in this book are absolutely beautiful, I loved reading it when I was a child and I even brought it to school once just so that my classmates could enjoy the poetry. And I was 5 at the time. I can't wait to have it again since I lost it many years ago, so I can read it again and again, and to my children when the day comes.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Megan Markham

    This book was in the children’s book collection my siblings had but it weirdly felt too mature at times for them. The elementary idea of color poems was not mirrored in the language this book used and so the book went over the heads of my young siblings but the art was gorgeous and the poetry was fine. A very quick read that is very cohesive.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    Loved the illustrations, probably a bit more than the poems, but that's me. Never read the older version, but the artist chosen for this edition was perfect. Each poem is about a color. Need to read to appreciate...but I do agree with other reviewers about the "red" Indian. It stopped me so I lost the flow. Loved the illustrations, probably a bit more than the poems, but that's me. Never read the older version, but the artist chosen for this edition was perfect. Each poem is about a color. Need to read to appreciate...but I do agree with other reviewers about the "red" Indian. It stopped me so I lost the flow.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sofia Seledkov

    Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O'Neill , 1961. Although this poem book may be a little outdated, it is authentic poetry. Because this poem book was published in 1961, I probably would not use this in a classroom.. (there are some racist aspects which I do not agree with). I actually would say that the poetry isn't even that great, but it definitely would get a child to think. #classic Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O'Neill , 1961. Although this poem book may be a little outdated, it is authentic poetry. Because this poem book was published in 1961, I probably would not use this in a classroom.. (there are some racist aspects which I do not agree with). I actually would say that the poetry isn't even that great, but it definitely would get a child to think. #classic

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tandava Graham

    I came across this book in one of our school classrooms and just fell in love with it. The second edition has gorgeous illustrations by John Wallner (I don’t know what the ones in the original edition were like). Each poem is about a color, and they’re all in the same, simple, kid-friendly form, but they all have at least one or two beautifully synesthetic surprises in them.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    This is our second time to read through this poetry book, and we enjoy it more each time. Each poem is about a specific color, ("What is White?) then describes the color in the most beautiful way, including imagery, feelings, smells. It's a wonderful little book and we look forward to poetry time every day in our homeschool! This is our second time to read through this poetry book, and we enjoy it more each time. Each poem is about a specific color, ("What is White?) then describes the color in the most beautiful way, including imagery, feelings, smells. It's a wonderful little book and we look forward to poetry time every day in our homeschool!

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