Saturday, April 21, 2012

Kid Konnection: National Poetry Month

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to feature two poetry books that we've been reading this month.

Summary:  Renowned author Daniel Pinkwater and best-selling poet and artist Calef Brown team up to champion the ridiculous! These endlessly fascinating and imaginative poems are as fresh and delightful today as they were when Edward Lear wrote them more than a hundred years ago—from "The Owl and the Pussycat" to "The Pobble Who Has No Toes." This charming book proves that, sometimes, there's nothing children need more than a healthy dose of nonsense! -- Chronicle Books

HIS SHOES WERE FAR TOO TIGHT by Edward Lear, masterminded by Daniel Pinkwater and illustrated by Calef Brown, is an extremely fun book of poems. Booking Son and his father were reading this book before bedtime one night and I heard quite a bit of laughter. I was surprised that a book of poems was the reason for the giggles, but when I took a closer look, it became apparent why. HIS SHOES WERE FAR TOO TIGHT is just plain silly!

I think HIS SHOES WERE FAR TOO TIGHT is an excellent way to introduce poetry to young children. This book is chock full of poems that are guaranteed to stretch your child's imagination and make them smile. I wasn't familiar with most of these poems, but I have a feeling I might be alone. Edward Lear wrote his nonsense poems over 150 years ago, they are still relevant today. I appreciated that the author included a brief (and very silly) bio of Mr. Lear at the beginning of the book to give some background into his life.

In addition to the poems, the colorful illustrations are quite a bit of fun. This book is full of detailed, yet whimsical, pictures of the characters in the poems. They are extremely interesting to look at and are the perfect complement to the poetry.

This book is a winner and sure to be a hit with little ones (and parents too!)

Summary: In this new anthology, Children's Poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman shares a brand-new collection of poems especially suitable for learning by heart and saying aloud. As Mary Ann says: "When you learn a poem by heart, it becomes a part of you. You know it in your mind, in your mouth, in your ears, in your whole body. And best of all, you know it forever."

In addition to beloved poems by Mary Ann herself, this collection also features poems by such notable poets as Carl Sandburg, Karla Kuskin, Jack Prelutsky, Alice Schertle, and William Carlos Williams, as well as helpful tools that children, parents, and teachers can use for memorization and recitation.

The poems are coupled with Michael Emberley's humorous and lively art, offering a unique, approachable, and child-friendly collection. The wide variety of poems, from short to long and from silly to solemn, are sure to please every reader and inspire children of all ages to celebrate the joy of learning poetry by heart. -- Little, Brown

FORGET-ME-NOTS: POEMS TO LEARN BY HEART selected by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Michael Emberley is a wonderful book of poems. While I definitely don't consider myself a fan of poetry (although I am finding that I enjoy books written in verse if that counts for anything), I absolutely loved this book. Part of the reason why is that it reminded me of my childhood. I appreciated rediscovering many of the poems that I remember hearing as a child.

The premise alone of FORGET-ME-NOTS also makes it extremely special. The idea behind this collection is that these poems are perfect for learning by heart and saying aloud. (Do any of you remember having to memorize poems and then reciting them to your class?) The book is pretty extensive and includes over 125 poems of varying lengths. In addition, the book is divided into some pretty neat chapters headings. There are sections titled, "The Short of It," "One and All," "Beautiful Beasts," "Delicious Dishes," "It's About Time," "Happiness Is," "Weather and Seasons," "Sad and Sorrowful," " Strange and Mysterious," "Poems from Storybooks," and "The Long of It." I think there's a little something for everyone, and there is such a wide variety of poems that it's guaranteed to entertain kids of all ages. Another nice feature of FORGET-ME-NOTS is that there are some suggestions at the end of the book for learning poetry by heart.

And finally, I enjoyed this book so much is that it just has some great poems by some great poets. There are some classic poems and also many more that were new-to-me. No matter how you slice it, FORGET-ME-NOTS is a great assortment of poetry. Many of you will recognize the poets whose works appear in this book including Emily Dickinson, Carl Sandberg, Edward Lear (see above review!), Robert Frost, William Shakespeare, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, and Shel Silverstein.

Ms. Hoberman is a former Children's Poet Laureate and a winner of the National Book Award. It is apparent that she has a passion for sharing her love of poetry with children, and I think she has accomplished that once again with FORGET-ME-NOTS. This collection of poetry would make a fantastic gift for children of all ages, and it's one that I can see being handed down through the generations. In my opinion, FORGET-ME-NOTS is that special!

I adored FORGET-ME-NOTS and I think it's a must-have book for every child's library! Highly recommended!

Thanks to the publishers for providing review copies of these books.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


bermudaonion said...

Those both look good! Vance used to love poetry when he was small so I can see why Booking Son and Booking Dad enjoyed His Shoes Were Far Too Tight.

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

Silverstein is a favorite in our house. When we first read his poems we laughed so hard. I think my kids would love both of these books, especially the first one with the silly poems. These are going on my TBR list!

Serena said...

These sounds like great fun. Thanks for sharing these as part of the NPM blog tour.

Anonymous said...

Well, it was completely unintentional that I also read a book by Daniel Pinkwater and thoroughly enjoyed it. Looks like I'll be adding another!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love kids poems! Not only are they silly in a fun way, but they're understandable to me, unlike much poetry!

Beth S. said...

"(Do any of you remember having to memorize poems and then reciting them to your class?)"

I actually make my students memorize a poem in front of the class. :) So yeah, I definitely want to check out Forget-Me-Nots. I have a book in my classroom that is a similar theme. It's called WHISPER AND SHOUT: POEMS TO MEMORIZE.

Poetry Month is my favorite month to be a teacher. I love taking kids and showing them how poetry is just as wide and varied as prose. So many of them think that you can only write poems about one theme (love, seasons, "mushy stuff") so I love showing them poems that are so not that.

@parridhlantern said...

my daughter's love of poetry started with poetry like Dr suess & poems by the likes of Spike Milligan.