Children's Book Reviews
While all of the following are new books, parents shouldn’t forget the classics
when reading poetry to their children. Mother Goose, Milne, Stevenson, Frost,
Dunbar, Lear…yes, don’t forget to include adult poetry. Not only does it make
more sense, but it’s so much more fun, just like the following offerings!
Peephole Rhymes by Harriet Ziefert. c 2000, Price Stern Sloan.
Nice for toddlers and babies, this collection of simple couplets leaves the last
rhyming word hidden by a flap with a peephole. Cute, cartoony pictures are by
Snow? Let’s Go! by Karen Berman Nagel. c 2000, Scholastic.
A simple but endearing picture book in rhyme of a little girl preparing to go out
and play in the snow. Carolyn Croll did the bright illustrations.
Pieces by Anna Grossnickle Hines. c 2001, Greenwillow.
A beautiful book, the subtitle “a year in poems and quilts” explains it best. Both
by the author, small quilts and rhymes combine to show the year’s passage with
joy and serenity.
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen. c 2000, Blue Sky Press.
An adorable rollicking rhyming story filled with petulant, willful dinosaurs who just
don’t seem to want to go to bed…or do they? The amusing illustrations are by
Wake Up House! By Dee Lillegard. c 2000, Knopf.
Extremely three dimensional art in primary colors by Don Carter immediately
capture one’s attention in this unique collection of poems about parts of a house.
Robots are Coming by Andy Rash. c 2000, Scholastic.
No cute little bunny rabbits, no flowers, no warm fuzzies here – just a few poems
chronicling the darker side of the imagination, such as pirates, mummies and
androids. Only a little bit scary, this will still appeal to any kid who enjoys roller
coasters or Halloween. The weird but comical illustrations are by the author.
Short Takes by Charles R. Smith Jr. c 2001, Dutton
This self-described book of “fast-break basketball poetry” might convince some
kids (notably boys) that this is definitely stuff worth reading. Visually engaging as
well, the combination of real life photographs with a jazzy, hip hop rhythm makes
for a rather original poetry book.
Stone Bench in an Empty Park. selected by Paul B. Janeczko. c 2000, Orchard
Subdued black and white photographs of the city by Henri Silberman illustrate
this quiet assortment of haiku by various writers such as Nikki Grimes, Alan
Pizzarelli, and Issa.
Words with Wings selected by Belinda Rochelle. c 2001, HarperCollins
This handsome “treasury of African American poetry and art” features such
famous writers as Alice Walker, Lucille Clifton, Paul Laurence Dunbar and Maya
Angelou. The vibrant artwork is supplied by Henry Ossawa Tanner, Allan Rohan
Crite and Augusta Savage, among others.
Daddy Poems compiled by John Micklos, Jr. c 2001, Boyds Mills Press
Touching and heartwarming, this collection by various writers celebrates one of
the most important bonds in a child’s life – their father. Definitely meant to be
read aloud and shared, these poems are further enhanced by the warm pastel
drawings of Robert Casilla. And yes, there is another book called Mommy
Ferocious Girls, Steamroller Boys, and Other Poems in Between by Timothy
Bush. c 2000, Orchard Books.
Quirky and fun, this collection of rhyming poems will be great reading for the
elementary set. Amusing and colorful illustrations by the author are great.
FOR OLDER READERS
Voices. selected by Barbara Brenner. c 2000, National Geographic.
Filled with stunning artwork and photos, this beautiful book is a visual and
poetical smorgasbord from around the world.
Movin’ edited by Dave Johnson. c 2000, Orchard Books
These poems were selected from poetry workshops offered at the New York
Public Library and from an Internet link where teen writers everywhere can
submit work as well (http://www.poetshouse.org). Distinctive black and white
drawings by Chris Raschka highlight the wide range of subjects.
Learning to Swim by Ann Turner. c 2000, Scholastic.
“With these poems, I have taken a silent, painful time in my childhood and
transformed it into something healing and life-giving.” the author writes. Sexual
abuse is a difficult topic, but the lyrical free verse here conveys the dark range of
emotions brought on by the abuse and then later by the healing.
You Hear Me? edited by Betsy Franco. c 2000, Candlewick Press.
A collection of poems and writings by teenage boys, this gives an unflinching
look into the stark lives of so many today. Be warned that there ARE some
poems with some strong, even bad language. But somehow, (although I hate to
admit this), it seemed in context.
Within and Between by Robert H. Deluty. c 2000, Gateway Press.
Published in Baltimore by a Baltimorean, this collection of poems range in
subject matter from Holocaust survivors to raising children. Most are short,
evoking a poignant imagery of the dual frailty and toughness of life.
All contents © 2000, Kate Marley. All rights reserved.