Category Archives: Poetry

There, There

There, There
by Tim Beiser, illustrated by Bill Slavin
Tundra Books, 2017

As half the work of a picture book is the illustrations, this book’s textured, rich acrylic pictures, kept me turning the pages, again and again.  I was not familiar with Bill Slavin‘s books, but I’m reading them now.  A Canadian artist, he’s won numerous awards.

The text, written in well-done rhyme also pulled me in.  The story features a whiney rabbit who complains of just about everything, and a patient bear who accepts his friend’s quirks up to a point.  Tired of all his complaining, he marches his friend out and show’s him an earthworm who spends all his time in dirt, has no arms or legs and gets happy when he mistakes his own rear end for a friend!  Fortunately, rabbit gets it, and suddenly the day turns warm.  But the worm, tossed into the dirt was insulted!  The story ends on a humorous note in perfect rhyme.

A fresh story with a good lesson.

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Rolling Thunder (A Memorial Day story)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Rolling Thunder

by Kate Messner, illustrated by Greg Ruth
Scholastic Press, 2017

The story is of a boy who rides with his Vietnam vet grandfather on the 30th Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom, done on Memorial Day each year.  The story captures the importance the ride is for the grandfather who rides to honor friends lost.  Riding in on a motorcycle, they arrive at a campground and meet up with others.  In the morning, a long motorcycle convoy arrives at The Wall, where names are touched and prayers are said. The story is written in perfect rhyme and emphasizes the importance of Memorial Day and honoring those who fought for our freedom.  The illustrations tell many other stories, featuring other soldiers, family members at the wall as well as a star-lit sky signifying the vastness of the lives lost and honor earned.  A fresh story about the importance of the holiday.

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Monster’s New Undies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Monster’s New Undies

by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Tad Carpenter
Scholastic, 2017

An endearing story of undies?  It’s true!  In this rhyming story we meet little monster who dreads shopping for new undies.  When his mom takes him to Undie World, he is soon overwhelmed.  He vetoes polka-dots, tiny whales and racing car undies for him!  In despair he’s about to leave, when he spies the perfect pair.

Filled with all the words for undies and what they cover, it’s clean fun and a fun read-aloud for both parents and kids.

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Things to Do

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Things to Do

by Elaine Magliaro, illustrated by Catia Chien
Chronicle Books, 2017

An unassuming book that opens nature’s world to readers.  Readers gently explore things to do if you are dawn, a bird, a honeybee, or even a snail.  Written in a poetic voice, each section begins with “Things to do if you are..” Each section explores the subject, enlightening it with descriptors, some known by readers, some new to readers.  The book invites readers to ponder the descriptions and experience them for themselves.  Loose paintings rendered in acrylic, further invite readers into the story.  The day ends with crickets and the moon that “Hang(s) in the darkness,” and “Dazzle(s) the night.”

A quiet book that brings awareness to, explores, and expands in detail the many things in a child’s day.

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Two is Enough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Two is Enough

by Janna Matthies, illustrated by Tuesday Mourning
RP KIDS, 2015

A book overflowing with love as single parents and their children share life together, happy to be ‘two.’  Written in rhyme we learn, “Two is enough for a snowball fight, for building a family, frosty and white.”  Illustrations focus on four families in a variety of scenes, doing a variety of activities from cycling, gardening, singing, and even crying.  It ends with, “Sure as one plus one will always be two, Two is enough when its’s me plus you!”  A lovely poem and a heartwarming book for families with one adult and one child.

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Spunky Little Monkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spunky Little Monkey
Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson, illustrated by Brian Won
Scholastic Press, 2017

Bill Martin Jr (of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?) does it again with a new interactive book for spunky toddlers.  Spunky Little Monkey is all about rhythm and rhyme, exercise and fun, and getting the body started in the morning.

Little Monkey has difficulty waking and the doctor prescribes exercise:
Rutabaga, Rutabaga
Sis! Boom! Bah!
POP UP, Monkey!
Rah! Rah! RAH!

Through a rhythmic, energetic, dancing song, monkey finds the rhythm in his head, then he finds the rhythm in his hands, then his feet and his hips.  When he puts them all together, he feels much better.  He gathers together his friends and off they go to play.  Perfect book to learn body parts and run off steam. Brian Won illustrates monkey action in a toned down rainbow palette, showing lots of actions; although most kids readers will be dancing, not enjoying the art work!

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Wake Up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Wake Up!

by Helen Frost, illustrated by Rick Lieder
Candlewick Press, 2017

Through a gentle poem, reader’s eyes can savor photos of nature’s birds, insects, and animals. Creatures shown are so close, readers may feel like they can reach out and touch each one.  The yellow duckling looks right into their eyes, some may want to screech at the croaking frogs, and they may hold their breath at the sight of a newborn fawn.  A wonderful introduction to nature.

The afterward provides additional information on each creature featured, to invite conversations on their favorites.  A book that inspires curiosity about learning more.

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Out of Wonder, Poems Celebrating Poets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Out of Wonder, Poems Celebrating Poets

By Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth.
Illustrated by Ekua Holmes
Candlewick Press, 2017

It’s a delight to read each poem celebrating a poet and written in that poet’s ‘style’.  This poem collection is packed with freshness, with so many layers going on at once.  Poets celebrated include Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, Nikki Giovanni, and Langston Hughes, twenty in all.

Using bright, bold colors and shapes, Ekua, a fine artist, uses mixed-media collages to explore the poem’s message in visual form. Each poems’ illustration is uniquely and masterfully done.  This is a treat for poetry lovers and an interesting way to introduce poets to young readers.

The book includes an afterword with a few paragraphs on each poet celebrated and on the three poets who created this collection.  Good energy exudes from between the covers.  A book worth picking up.

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Are You an Echo?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You an Echo?  The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko
by David Jacobson
Chin Music Press, 2016

Are You an Echo? is a treasure.  The beautifully illustrated cover and the textured and heavy-stocked pages, make a strong presentation of Japan’s beloved children’s poet.  The book includes Misuzu’s brief biography and presents 25 poems.  Fifteen poems are presented in English and Japanese on beautifully illustrated two-page spreads.

Misuzu’s poems give voice to cocoons, fish and snow.  Written with such innocence, they are the words of a four-year-old.  Of course, they are translated from Japanese, but they have a unique flavor different from children’s poetry in America.

Unlike most girls of the early 1900’s who stopped going to school after the sixth grade, Misuzu went to school until she was seventeen.  She was raised in her mother’s bookstore and she had a hard time telling the difference between real life and what she read.  Everything was alive and had its own feelings.  Always a thoughtful child, she was sensitive to everything around her and questioned everything. Unfortunately, extreme hardships entered into Misuzu’s life and she took her life at the age of 25.  This fact is included gently in the brief biography.

A delight to the imagination, this is a book to savor, study, and enjoy again and again.

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Henry Wants MORE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Henry Wants MORE!
by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes
Random House Children’s Books, 2016

Written in perfect, playful rhyme, we spend a day with Henry and his family.  Throughout the day, each family member plays with Henry who giggles and laughs.  While Papa, Grandma, Lucy, Charlie, and Mama soon tire of their selected activity, Henry doesn’t and always asks for ‘More’.   Done in soft pastel colors, readers see and feel the love exchanged on every page.  At last, at day’s end, Henry falls asleep, but wait—there is one more ‘more’!

Asking for ‘more’ is so universal, every family member will relate.  This heartwarming story is a joy to read and has the making of a classic.

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