From the time we are born, poetry is infused into our lives in many ways – whether we realize it or not. Nursery rhymes, lullabies, silly nicknames. All poetry. From there, maybe your roads lead to Shel Silverstein or Dr. Seuss. And then onward and upward.
Chances are, your kiddos aren’t UNFAMILIAR with poetry. Which is good – because poetry is AWESOME.
I’ve loved – perhaps as much as my daughters have loved – looking at these books we received for review for National Poetry Month. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love children’s lit – this poetry? It’s FUN. It’s entertaining. And some of the book art is absolutely lovely.
Take for example, Stardines Swim High Across the Sky: and Other Poems. This book of poems by Jack Prelutsky features amazing art by Carin Berger – these images are dioramas, shadow boxes, and cut paper collages. Pictured above are the “Braindeer” (Braindeer are very clever, Braindeer are very wise. Their brains are very wrinkled and of a massive size…). From SLOBsters to Panteaters, this book is entertaining, but the art makes the book. It’s unique and special and really stands apart from most of the books we own
As a tremendous fan of Maurice Sendak and “Where the Wild Things Are,” I was excited to receive a review copy of My Brother’s Book, Sendak’s elegy “for his brother, Jack, his partner of over fifty years, Eugene Glynn, and for himself.” Described as the kind of fairy tale a grieving child tells, this book was moving and quasi-Shakespearean. And my kids hated it. I guess it’s fair to say that Pumpkin also hates “Where the Wild Things Are” and The Princess was disturbed that it says “To hell with you then!” She didn’t find that appropriate. Given how I mourned the death of Sendak, though, I found the book to be a welcome addition to our book collection – and even though the kids don’t love it now, I’ll hang on to it.
Two other volumes of poems by Jack Prelutsky -The New Kid on the Block and A Pizza the Size of the Sun feature a more age appropriate nonsense kind of poem that my children, particularly seven-year-old Pumpkin, seem to enjoy. These poems are short and silly and remind me a bit of Shel Silverstein’s work (though, I’m a big Silverstein fan – and while these are good, Shel’s a tough act to follow!). Because the poems are short and sweet, they make for great bedtime reading – a few at a time, with an easy place to stop for the night.
This probably isn’t even fair to the other books because we are such total Dallas Clayton fans in this house. Make Magic! Do Good! is just as lovely as the other offerings from Clayton we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. These are the kinds of books that the cynical side of me wants to dislike because they are so FREAKING POSITIVE, but frankly – we all could use a little positive. I find the poems to be calming and they make me smile. My daughters enjoy them as well. Particularly “My Mistake” – a good one for this house full of overachievers:
I made a mistake when I wrote this
then I covered it up with some ink
then my hands got mistaken and made a mistake
and they spilled it all over the sink
so I asked for a rag to help fix it
but they brought me a rug by mistake.
Now the sink and the rug are all covered in ink
and the writing has taken a break.
Now I’m down on my knees
And a scrubbin’ it clean
but the mistake that I made just keeps growin’
and I think
if I had it to do over again
I’d've made my mistake and kept goin’.
Disclaimer – I received the books for review but as always, my opinion is my own. Blah blah blah FTC blah blah blah.