Archive for Poetry

Jump! by Scott M. Fischer

Jump!This clever rhyming picture book will have you jumping along too! Each little animal is just minding their own business, when along comes a bigger animal that makes them JUMP! Well, wouldn’t you jump if you were a cat, a fat little cat and were sleeping on a mat, and then you see a hound?? – wouldn’t you JUMP? The simple sing-songy rhythm of the story is infectious, and I think little kids and grown-ups will love it!

Posted by: Mary

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The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry Edited by J. Patrick Lewis, U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate

National Geographic Book of Animal PoetryNational Geographic and J. Patrick Lewis work well together. In 2007 they released The Brother’s War: Civil War Voices in Verse. It was a solemn, evocative and gut churning collection that stays in my mind even today. But, could we expect less of the U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate? The answer, of course is no and to prove my point, NatGeo—as we hipsters refer to them—and Lewis have done it again.

The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry is a treat. It’s more than a treat, it’s a triumph. The combination of stunning photos–as only Nat Geo can seems to be able to produce—and the writings of some of America’s best poets lights up the imagination and thrills the soul. It doesn’t hurt that a “parent /child” photo of a giraffes, one of my favorite animals, graces the cover. The book entices the reader with a subtitle that states, “200 poems with photographs that squeak, soar and ROAR!”

Mr. Lewis has chosen a wide variety authors who represent an even wider variety of styles—19th century, 20th century or 21st century; lighthearted, silly, or serious; rhyming verse, haiku or concrete poems. It’s all there, all carefully chosen by Mr. Lewis and all perfectly matched to the photography.

Don’t miss a chance to share these little gems with a favorite child or better yet, just curl up in a comfy spot and let yourself go wild among the animals.

Posted by: Eileen

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Get Real! A Non-Fiction Video Book Review

This month, Kelly shares a new favorite: Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems by Kristine O’Connell George. 

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Almost Late to School and More School Poems by Carol Diggory Shields

Almost Late to SchoolSchool. Just that very word makes some of us jump for joy while others shed a sad tear. Whether you are a student or teacher returning to the classroom or a parent or loved one secretly smiling as they pack their students off to school, this book promises smiles all around.

Almost Late to School offers humorous poems dealing with a variety of typical school day events such as the first day of school, science fair projects, oral reports, detention, friends and much more. There are 22 poems in all and each one is enhanced by cute and colorful illustrations.

This book is a winner for back-to-school reading. It’s enjoyable for all ages – even those of us who no longer have the joys and anxieties of a school day. I wholeheartedly give it an A+.

Posted by: Wendy

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The Neighborhood Mother Goose by Nina Crews

Neighborhood Mother GooseMother Goose nursery rhymes are little treasures. Not only do they have rhyme and rhythm, which make them easy to remember and delight the ears of young children, but they are such interesting and innovative little stories – by turns comical, sweet, doleful (rain rain go away), and downright mysterious. They also hold much history in their words (click here to find out what pease porridge actually is). It is the juxtaposition of these traditional rhymes and Nina Crews’ photographs of contemporary children which makes The Neighborhood Mother Goose such a unique and delightful book.

Inspired by her vibrant and diverse neighborhood, Crews illustrates a selection of rhymes with photographic collages featuring children in a city setting (most of the photographs were taken in or around Park Slope in Brooklyn). These lively illustrations are both realistic and fantastical – photographic images are manipulated to bring the scenes to life, such as in the picture of a tiny Jack jumping over a candle-topped cupcake at a birthday party. Crews succeeds in capturing both the ordinary and fantastic in everyday life – which is what these nursery rhymes did so well to begin with.

The Neighborhood Mother Goose is highly recommended – a wonderful book for even the youngest children.

Posted by: Parry

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Won Ton: A cat tale told in haiku by Lee Wardlaw

Won TonIt’s not often that the combination of picture book and haiku get “mashed-up.” Andrew Clements used a series of haikus to tell his story, Dogku but as endearing as the book is, those were more a series of poems fit to describe the dog and his family. In Won Ton, Wardlaw is able to tell the story using only haiku and it doesn’t seem stilted or strained—not that Clements’ did, it was wonderful, too.

There’s nothing revolutionary about the story. Won Ton, a cat, finds himself in an animal shelter, is finally adopted by a family, reluctantly settles in and becomes the “ruler of the roost.” Don’t get me wrong, he is a cat of great personality and definite opinions. He’s very “cat-like” and engaging.

It’s the haiku though, that makes the whole thing work. The short, precise form fits perfectly with the cat’s “thoughts” and actions. It will also appeal to those youngsters who need shorter but fulfilling texts. All in all, just like the boy in the book, you’ll be beguiled by Won Ton, a new friend you’ll want to visit over and over again.

Posted by: Eileen

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Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein

Every Thing On ItHaving always been a big fan of the silly and humorous poetry of Shel Silverstein, you can imagine my delight to discover a new book of 145 of his unpublished poems. Mr. Silverstein died in 1999 and I was certain that would end the publication of any more of his iconic white covered poetry books.

The dedication is simply “For You.” The title comes from the second poem in the book which is about a boy who orders a hot dog with everything on it. Of course, his hot dog arrives ala Silverstein style and is slightly more than the boy bargained for. The first poem, Years From Now, touches my heart as Shel reassures the reader that “somewhere from some far off place I hear you laughing – and I smile.”

I would recommend this wonderful new poetry book to all readers. The poems and illustrations have the ability to spread simple joy to us all. Who could ask for more from a book?

Posted by: Wendy

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