Friday, April 20, 2012

Poetry Picture Books for Children (giveaway)

If you're a regular around these parts you know that I'm not a particular fan of poetry. I try to like it, but in general I just don't get it. I like plain speech. But I can handle rhyming in Children's Picture Book form (for the most part - and most especially when it comes from the pen of Bill Peet.) Every April I feel guilted in to reading some poetry and so I give it another go. Just because I don't necessarily go for it, doesn't mean that I should deny my children the experience, correct? Enter: Candlewick Press. They asked if I'd like to take a peek at some of their picture books and I agreed to do so. These are the ones I chose to read through with my kids.

We began by reading Step Gently Out, by Helen Frost. Bookworm1 was snickering at the cover because he knows I don't like bugs. In his mind, this book promised to be awesome. Of course, I obliged him by making disgusted faces when having to stare at the insects at my fingertips.

Now, I'm not into poetry and therefore I am not really fit to critique it. This book flowed together very loosely, containing only one line of text per page spread. The idea of Step Gently Out is to cause the reader to be aware of the little creatures that exist in the outdoors. Step outside and enter into the magical world of . . . bugs.

"An ant climbs up to look around.
A honeybee flies past."

Each line is accompanied by a picture of something with beady little eyes. I jest (sort of) but I will say in all honesty that the photography by Rick Lieder suits the text beautifully.

Bookworm1's thoughts: Interesting, but "not very funny." (He was hoping I'd gross out more or something.)

Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature, by Nicola Davies was the one I was most looking forward to reading through and is my particular favorite. The illustrations by Mark Hearld draw me in. Each page spread is a collage, piecing together the scene which illustrates the individual poems contained in this book. Again, I'm not a poetry critic but the only poetry I ever seem to be able to stomach (and moderately enjoy) is poetry about the great outdoors.

The poems in this book are simple and sweet and therefore easy for children to sit through in brief chunks of time. (There are 102 pages of verses inside so this isn't exactly something that is intended to be devoured in one sitting.) There are poems about the seasons, the wind, the seashore, a starry sky, a spider's web, chickens, acorns, lizards and worms. Reading these verses makes you want to go out and take a long walk through a magical wood.

My favorite poem in this book is called Night.

"The moon sails white and silver in the dark sky.

Sometimes you can feel,
sometimes you can feel,
sometimes you can feel the world is turning."

Bookworm1's thoughts: Not very appealing. (We only got a few poems in before he became distracted. I ended up looking at this book all by my lonesome, to tell you the truth. But I enjoyed it!

Ok, I suspected that A Little Bitty Man and Other Poems for the Very Young, by Halfdan Rasmussen was going to be the winner and I was right. You see, we have rather sophomoric humor around these parts and if you mention anything at all about anything related to the bathroom, both boys erupt into riotous laughter. (Neither I nor their father trained them to do this. It just happened and we're working on when it's appropriate to make certain jokes and when it isn't.)

The following line appeared in this book and it put both sons in stitches:

"Tiptoes to stoop on,
and potties to poop on!"

I hardly need to say more. This book is full of silly little rhymes that may have made a grown woman snicker but the young boys laugh hysterically.

Bookworm1's thoughts: "So, so funny!"

Now comes the nice part you've been waiting for . . .

Candlewick Press has offered to give away one of the above titles of your choosing to one of you.

Simply leave a comment below and include the following:

1. A valid e-mail address; and
2. Which title you would like to win, should your name be selected as the winner.

This contest is open to U.S. Residents only and will be open through Thursday, April 26th.

Thank you, Candlewick Press, for continue to expose myself and my children to bits of poetry and for offering another individual the chance to do the same!


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I've gotta go with the Little Bitty Man (or whatever it's called) for the humor factor. It's a great way to win children (& adults!) over to poetry!

Thanks, Carrie!

Sky said...

"Outside Your Window" please!

Rosita said...

I would love to read Outside Your Window to my nearly two-year old twin grandchildren.


Diary of an Autodidact said...

My experience, both as a child who enjoyed poetry, and a father with kids, is that children seem to prefer poetry with a regular meter and rhyme. In other words, the opposite of most modern poetry directed at children. Thus, Tennyson has been a hit with my kids, and some Shakespeare, for the same reason.
"Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble."

"Over hill, over dale,
Through bush, through briar,
Over park, over pale,
Through blood, through fire,
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moone’s sphere;"

The rhythm is the thing.

For my part, I loved Rossetti, Dickinson, and Frost when I was a kid.

Alison said...

Somehow I think The New Kid on the Block would be more Bookworm's style. I think we'd like the little birth man.

BerlinerinPoet said...

I love Bill Peet too! For a while I had this idea of writing historical poetry for children and when I read about stuff like this I think, "maybe that wasn't such a bad idea after all."
I'm glad you're reading this to your kiddos, even though you aren't a fan. Most people who appreciate poetry say it's because their parents used to read it to them. I know that's true for me. I guess it's true for most reading in general.

Janna said...

"Outside Your Window" just 'cause the cover is calling me. ;o)
jannarebekah(at) aol (dot) come

Alison said...

Hate auto correct.

Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker said...

Outside the window looks lovely!!

jensteed dot 08 at gmail dot com

Bluerose said...

As tempting as the other ones are for me, I'd have to pick "Step Gently Out", since Grasshopper loves bugs so much.

bluerosesheart at yahoo dot com

apple blossom said...

they all look good guess I'd chose Outside Your Window

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Anonymous said...

Picking Step Gently Out... Must admit the cover to Outside Your Window most appealing!!

Jen N
Art and Jen at Juno dot com

Side note:
Attended Anne of Green Gables the musical at a Bible college last night... My girls and I loved it!! Although I don't know you personally- you came to mind!! :-)

A Faithful Journey said...

Ourside Your Window looks wonderful!


Patricia said...

My favorite book as a child was "A Child's Garden of Verses," so I'm really excited about this giveaway. I'd really love to give "Outside Your Window," to my 3-year-old godson.

patricia dot mariani dot esq at gmail dot com

Patricia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patricia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Step Gently Out. Please enter me in contest.

Stephanie Kay said...

Potty humor is also popular at my house. Just a word of warning, with 2 older brothers it's likely Baby Girl will also develop an appreciation for potty humor. I think it's one of those things that comes on the male DNA but is learned for girls. ;D

All of these books look cute, btw. We aren't big into poetry either.

Z-Kids said...

Thanks for highlighting these! All three of them look wonderful. I think I'd pick "A Little Bitty Man." Thanks for the chance to win :)

zenzart at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

A Little Bitty Man

shostagirl AT gmail DOT com

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