Lynn and Cindy: Yes, it is still March. But April is Poetry Month and it is coming FAST! Here are some brand new, beautiful poetry books to add to your collections. Get them while there’s still time!
The Maine Coon’s Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers (2015), by Michael Rosen.
Poet and cat lover, Rosen presents 20 haiku poems each reflecting a particular breed of feline. Some of the poems are funny, some mysterious, but all are observant and engaging. Rosen clearly knows cats and slyly organizes the book in four chapters titled Inside, Outside, Inside, Outside. Lee White’s digitally created illustrations are the purrfect pairing for each poem.
a toppled lamp shade
moon moth must be here somewhere
battled from the dark
The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects (2015) is another gem, with poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko and illustrated by Chris Raschka.
Janeczko sets up a tough challenge for himself in this anthology: laying out the history of poetry from the early Middle Ages through contemporary times with just a few poems per period. Oh, and they have to feature an object, rather than a mood or feeling. The objects range from swords, a burnt ship, and a well-known red wheelbarrow to everyday objects like boxes, a birthday card, postage stamps, and manhole covers. There are plenty of nature’s objects too: the moon, the stars, snowflakes, grass, cats, and a grasshopper. Rumi illuminates a candle stub and Basho’s haiku spotlights a scarecrow’s shirt, while Sylvia Plath ruminates on mushrooms and Billy Collins laments on “The Death of the Hat”—losing a fashion accessory trend and a father.
It’s never too early to start sharing poetry with children.
The large square format and Raschka’s signature watercolor illustrations make this an inviting collection for emerging poetry students and classroom use with a visual data projector. But many of the entries will suit an older audience, making this an anthology that can grow with the child, and one that will be enjoyed by the adults sharing it with them. A helpful introduction explains the organization and the literary periods employed here is, but inquiring minds will have to do some research of their own to place the poems more firmly in the timeline and regions of the world.
Be sure to follow the wild goose story that starts and ends on the endpapers and continues through the pages to its happy conclusion. Of course, this anthology is a great springboard to having students select an object and write their own poem.
Lynn: It’s never too early to start sharing poetry with children, and who better to start with than the wonderful Shirley Hughes.
Candlewick has brought Out and About: A First Book of Poems to the U.S. First published in England, this beautiful book is perfect to read with preschoolers. Divided into four sections, the 18 poems reflect the experiences of Katy and her baby brother Olly in each of the four seasons. The poems are child-centered with age-appropriate language, short phrases, and lots of repeating refrains. Each poem is accompanied by a wealth of beautiful illustrations, some full-page in size and some a scattering of tiny scenes. As is typical with Hughes’ style, the book has a joyous warmth to it that makes it a delight to read. Share a poem a day with a preschool group. Or, better still, snuggle up with your favorite toddler and enjoy the perfect combination of poetry, charming illustrations, and laptime.