April is Poetry Month and I’ve collected a bounteous basket of poetry books to fill this blooming season full of rhymes, rhythms, didactic pentameters and a myriad of liquid language that will flow off the tip of your tongue.
Sharing the Seasons: A Book of Poems, selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, and illustrated by David Diaz, is a poetry book to have on your home bookshelf. Each season has a dozen perfectly placed poems that celebrate that type of weather. Some of these poets include Carl Sandburg, Mry Atkinson and Lee Bennett Hopkins. The colorful illustrations cover the entire page and glow with shades of hue that seem to drip off each page.
Count Down to Summer: A Poem For Every Day of the School Year, by J. Patrick Lewis, and illustrated by Ethan Long, goes straight through the year ending with the last poem entitled “School’s Out!”. The poems are fun, funny and beg to be read out loud – and the pencil etchings add to the humor of each poem.
A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein, has recently been published as a special edition with twelve new poems. This masterpiece was first published in 1981 and continues to charm all ages with the inventive and innovative usage of words and humorous drawings by one of last century’s best poets.
The Underwear Salesman: And Other Jobs for Better or Verse, by J. Patrick Lewis, is a poetry book that takes a quick look at unique jobs one might not consider when thinking about their future. Some of these include an acrobat, ice sculptor and crossword puzzle maker. The pencil drawings and the collage decoupage congregate words and images to complete a unique poetic design.
Fancy Nancy: Poet Extraordinaire!, by Jane O’Connor, and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser, has all the trademarks of the earlier fun Fancy Nancy books including a sparkly book slip. But what I like best about this new book is how children can learn the beauty of our language through Nancy’s invigorating explorations of poems.
Everybody Was a Baby Once: And Other Poems, by Allan Ahlberg, and illustrated by Bruce Ingman, takes the vantage viewpoint of celebrating childhood through fun and often goofy poems that will bring a smile all the while. The drawings are just as fun and humorous – and a perfect fit for the poems.
Dutch Sneakers and Flea Keepers: 14 More Stories, by Calef Brown, has recently been published in paperback and is a terrific way to celebrate Poetry Month. Mr. Brown is a genius with arranging, correlating and designing words and poems. And all of his poems are great fun to read and enjoy. His laughable and colorful illustrations bring out the main point of each poem.
Poetry for Young People has two books that are now in paperback: Carl Sandburg, edited by Frances Schoonmaker Bolin, and illustrated by Steven Arcella, and Langston Hughes, edited by David Roessell & Arnold Rampersad, and illustrated by Benny Andrews. Both books showcase some favorite poems with beautifully painted illustrations.
Too Much Kissing: and Other Silly Dilly Songs About Parents, by Alan Katz, and hilarious illustrations by David Catrow, has 14 riotous poems that can be sung to familiar tunes. An example is “The Allowance Song” that can be sung to the tune of “Home on the Range”.
And my last book just celebrates a part of speech that is the anchor for poems: nouns. A Dignity of Dragons: Collective Nouns For Magical Beasts, by Jacqueline K. Ogburn, and painted by Nicoletta Ceccolt, eloquently explores descriptive adjectives to go along with imaginative creatures from sights unseen. If these terminologies don’t create images from sights unseen and motivate pen on page, I don’t know what will!