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Children’s Classics–Poetry

childrensclassicsI love juvenile poetry, so when I saw that June’s Children’s Classics carnival at 5 Minutes for Books was to be all about poetry, I knew just which books I wanted to highlight.

read-aloud rhymes for the very young

Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young is fun anthology compiled by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Marc Brown.  Need I say more?  🙂  Seriously, I figure Prelutsky knows good poetry with kid appeal when he reads it.  This is but a sampling of the many poets whose works appear in this terrific anthology:

  • Margaret Hillert
  • Dorothy Aldis
  • Edward Lear
  • Elise Holmelund Minarik
  • A.A. Milne
  • Jane Yolen
  • Aileen Fisher
  • Ogden Nash
  • Beatrix Potter
  • Charlotte Zolotow
  • Mary Ann Hoberman
  • Joan Walsh Anglund
  • Beatrice Schenk de Regniers
  • Nikki Giovanni
  • Judith Viorst
  • Langston Hughes
  • Gwendolyn Brooks
  • Jack Prelutsky (of course)
  • Many, many others

Marc Brown‘s illustrations are lovely and not too Arthur-ish.  Every page is lavishly illustrated, and since most pages contain multiple poems, the illustrations are little cameos for the individual poems.

I believe I first read about this particular anthology in Jim Trelease’s The Read-Aloud Handbook when I first read it many, many years ago (in fact, Jim Trelease wrote the introduction for the anthology), and we added it to our home library before Lulu was really old enough to appreciate it.  In fact, it has been a while since we’ve pulled it off the shelf; I think some poetry reading is in order here in the near future at the House of Hope.

I really can’t say enough good things about this volume.  In my opinion, this is a must-have for any home library intended for children’s use.  I’ll leave it at that and end with a few of my own favorite poems from this collection:

Singing-Time

I wake in the morning early

And always, the very first thing,

I poke out my head and I sit up in bed

And I sing and I sing and I sing.

–Rose Fyleman


A Frog and a Flea

A frog and a flea

And a kangaroo

Once jumped for a prize

In a pot of glue;

The kangaroo stuck

And so did the flea,

And the frog limped home

With a fractured knee.

–Cynthia Mitchell

eloise wilkinsI also wanted to mention a board book anthology that is more appropriate, but just as lovely, for younger children.  Eloise Wilkin’s Poems to Read to the Very Young features many of the same poets and poems as Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young, with the notable difference that Eloise Wilkin’s Poems to Read to the Very Young contains several poems by Robert Louise Stevenson, Christina G. Rosetti, and William Blake.  Josette Frank compiled this collection, and Eloise Wilkin illustrated it.  If you want a durable volume through which you can introduce very young children to poetry, this would be a great choice.  It even includes this gem of a poem that I can remember my own mother reading to me when I was a child:

Merry Sunshine

“Good morning, Merry Sunshine,

How did you wake so soon,

You’ve scared the little stars away

And shined away the moon.

I saw you go to sleep last night

Before I ceased my playing;

How did you get ‘way over there?

And where have you been staying?

“I never go to sleep, dear child,

I just go round to see

My little children of the East,

Who rise and watch for me.

I waken all the birds and bees

And flowers on my way,

And now come back to see the child

Who stayed out late to play.”

–Anonymous

Be sure to check out 5 Minutes for Books for more poetry posts!

Read Aloud Thursday and a Book Giveaway!

square-read-aloud-imageI hope you all have had a happy Read Aloud Week!  I’ve enjoyed sharing some of our old and new favorite read-alouds this week.  For this week’s Read Aloud Thursday, I thought I’d break with my normal routine of sharing our library finds and share what I hope will be a helpful bookish hint.

9780060080945Some time before Lulu was born I purchase the HarperCollins Treasury of Picture Book Classics: A Child’s First Collection at Sam’s or some such place.  I have been a collector of children’s books since long before I’ve had children of my own.  I used to blame it on having nephews, but the truth is (if you haven’t figured it out by now), I just love children’s literature, plain and simple.  This anthology really is a treasury in the truest sense of the word.  It is a compilation of some of the best in children’s picture books.  It includes

  • Goodnight Moon
  • Caps for Sale (my thoughts here)
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon
  • Crictor
  • A Baby Sister for Frances
  • Leo the Late Bloomer
  • William’s Doll
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
  • George Shrinks
  • Baby Says
  • From Head to Toe
  • Pete’s a Pizza

This book has turned into our default take-along for trips to the doctor’s office.  We started doing this when Lulu was just a toddler.  We are rather germaphobic here at the House of Hope (Steady Eddie has had just enough microbiology to make him this way for the rest of his life, and it has rubbed off on me), so I liked the idea of having something that would keep the girls’ attention and something that would not be dropped in the floor, etc.  The book is really heavy, which encourages them to sit in our laps contently while being read to.  It helps, of course, that we actually sort of forget about the book most of the time until an occasion to go to the doctor arises, and then we pull it off the shelf.  Actually, that very thing happened just this week when Louise’s allergies finally morphed into something that required a physician’s care.  Once she got over the initial angst of going to the doctor, Louise then asked for the “big blue book.”  We made it through three of the stories and were working on the fourth when Louise’s name was called.  As if reading a great story like Harold and the Purple Crayon (my favorite!) isn’t enough, the fact that we only pull this book out infrequently adds to the excitement and interest.

_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+

Well, folks, this is the final post for the Read Aloud Week book giveaway.  I’ve had a great time sharing some of our favorite read alouds with you all week long, and I hope this has at least been an inspiration to you in your own family reading.  The book I’m giving away is The Animal Hedge by Paul Fleischman, and you can read my review of it here.

So how do you get in on the action for a chance to win this great book?  Here’s how:

  1. Leave a comment (even if you don’t blog) telling me you family’s favorite read-aloud or what you’re reading aloud currently
  2. Leave another comment with a link to your Read Aloud Thursday blog post
  3. Put the Read Aloud Thursday button in your side bar and come back and tell me you did in another comment
  4. Create a blog entry alerting your readers to this Read Aloud Thursday giveaway, or mention the giveaway in your Read Aloud Thursday post (either will do) and leave me a comment telling you did so

Be sure that each comment includes your contact information (email address or blog link).

This giveaway will end on Sunday night at midnight, CST.  I will post the winner on Monday morning. Happy Mother’s Day!