Because I am SO not a poetry person, I agreed to review some of Candlewick Press's poetry options. Behold the glory, the wonder and the splendor of poetry! (Really, Canaid, I'm at least TRYING to present it to my kids even if I'm not all that fond of it myself!)
Everybody Was a Baby Once is remarkably easy for the young people in our family to identify with, strangely enough. I also thought it was the most amusing of all of the options. Written by Allan Ahlberg and illustrated by Bruce Ingrman, I thought it was mostly tasteful but didn't appreciate "If You Meet a Witch." It was intended to ease children's fears but the illustrations don't really help out very much. We skipped that page and moved on.) The following poem was my favorite and will accurately inform you as to my maturity level when it comes to reading poetry:
"I'm Dirty Bill from Vinegar Hill,
Never had a bath and never will."
And this is why God hasn't given me a girl just yet because every time I read those two lines I snicker.
All Around the Seasons, by Barney Saltzberg was just released in February (year of this post) and is perfection, with one exception. Personal preference - I don't like witches represented in books as being cutesy and fun and they are so portrayed in this book. So one page spread disturbs me but otherwise, this entire book is fantastic and exactly where we are at! Bookworm1 took note of the seasons this past year and is eagerly anticipating what summer is planning to bring with it (i.e., an inflatable pool in his own backyard!) We've been doing quite a bit of talking about what trees and life does as the world goes 'round and seasons change.
The poem that Bookworm1 and I both enjoyed the most from this one was Summer Snowmen which talks about how snowmen used to be able to enjoy the sun "back in the good ol' days" and would take vacations by the sea 'just like you and me.' Quite cute. If poetry is supposed to cause you to dream fanciful dreams, well then this one did it for us!
I'm not a summer person but since that is THE most anticipated season in our house thus far, I guess I'm going to have to gear up for it. All Around the Seasons certainly makes it sound appealing:
"Rainbows and bunnies scribbled in chalk,
Skateboards and wagons
On the sidewalk.
Long picnic lunches,
Climbing up trees,
Fresh grass-stained knees."
Moving on a bit - our personal favorite from this stack was the following:
African Acrostics: A Word in Edgeways includes poems by Avis Harley and amazing photographs of African animals by Deborah Noyes. We love just looking at the pictures in this book! But, of course, there are words too. (I bet you are relieved, eh?)
Here is our favorite:
Eye to Eye
Ear-sails flap in a breeze.
Leather limbs in rhythm
Evenly swaying in step
Plod slowly over Africa.
Huge as a dinosaur, yet
A tender soul from such
Noble mammoth alumni.
There is wonder abuzz,
Staring into eyes so wise.
Ok, truthfully, the concept is above Bookworm1's head. I see the creativity and like it. But for us, two kids and mommy, it was more about the pictures. As a portrait photographer myself, I appreciate that good photographs were selected to be used with this book. I can't stand it when you pick up a book which includes real photographs and you find them to be blurry and non-creative. I though Noyes did a pretty good job and we enjoyed her work with enthusiasm.
So far, these books are the extent of our foray into the world of poetry. But there's still plenty of April left and, who knows? We may hit on a few more things that we like.
In the meantime, thanks to Candlewick Press who got us exploring and broadened our horizons!
After reading through these books, we scoured our own home bookshelves and found a few other titles, including The HICCUPotamus and I reviewed those reads over at Reading My Library as part of Read Aloud Thursday.