This is the last review this month dedicated to one of the most elegant visages in language: poetry. These picture books beg to be read out-loud to all ages allowing eloquence, alliteration and dichotomy to prevail.
The Princess and the Peas, by Caryl Hart, and illustrated with mixed media by Sarah Warburton, is an adorable tale told completely in rhyme about young Lily-Rose who strongly dislikes peas. When her father attempts to give her peas, she instantly rejects them. He “blended up peas / into smoothies and shakes. / He baked them in cookies / and put them in cakes.” He even takes her to the doctor who tells him she must actually be a princess and so he sends her to the palace. But things don’t quite turn out like Lily-Rose supposed. The colorful pictures are a perfect match with this delightful and somewhat humorous story. This is a perfect story for all of those picky youngsters out there!
Make Magic Do Good, by Dallas Clayton, has 50 poems that fill the pages with incredible imagination. There’s the “Rainbow”: “She made a rainbow out of thread / and hung it up above her bed / and she found inside the blanket fold / a little threaded pot of gold”. Other poems are titled: “Amanda The Panda”, “Real Live Dragon” and “Try!”. I love this last poem as it’s all about trying different things even if you fail. The colorful pictures, drawn by the author, are reminiscent of Shel Silverstein.
The Pet Project: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses, by Lisa Wheeler, and painted with acrylic that perfectly aligns with the poems by Zachariah O’Hora, is a delightful assortment of animal poems befitting those looking for a pet. A be-speckled youngster approaches her search for a pet in a scientific mode. Every poem is set-up to end in humor and kids will love them all! The shortest poem, titled “Hippopotamus”, reflects the great fun awaiting for all: “Chances of getting a hippo: / zippo.”
Spike & Ike Take a Hike, by S. D. Schindler, at first sight, looks like an emergent reader. And it is a perfect beginning reader. But there are more layers intertwined throughout. The cumulative text rhymes and audacious alliteration with animals are illustrated to perfectly match the rhyme. Nice nuances are neatly narrowed down!
Bananas in My Ears, by Michael Rosen, and humorously illustrated with ink and watercolor by Quentin Blake, is a collection of enjoyable poems and free verse stories. Some of the stories are told in comic-strip fashion with each picture telling a complete funny story with one recognizable look. The contents are divided into “The Breakfast Book”, “The Seaside Book”, “The Doctor Book” and “The Bedtime Book”.
Wee Rhymes: Baby’s First Poetry Book, by Jane Yolen, and beautifully painted with watercolor by Jane Dyer, is the perfect book to read-out-loud to babies and toddlers. There are more than 50 poems written by Yolen and each poem is short and written about subjects youngsters can relate to. The poems take you through the day of young children beginning with the new day with “Tickle Song” and “The Rose is Red.” As the day progresses, there are poems about “Walking”, “Special Blanket”, “Building Blocks”, “Nap Time” and “Time for a Bath.” Young children will love these poems and so will their parents!
World Rat Day: Poems about Real Holidays You’ve Never Heard Of, by J. Patrick Lewis, and painted from ink washes and drawings and then assembled digitally, is a compilation of poems about actual holidays celebrated around the world. We just missed “World Rat Day” celebrated on April 4th. But you can catch Frog Jumping Day on May 13 with the clever poem “Said the Frog”. It begins “I was really in a muddle / looking over a mud puddle / ’cause I didn’t have a paddle / or a twig to ride the reef”. This is just the poetry book to entice your kids to truly enjoy rhyming! I only wished he’d included the locations of where these unusual holidays are celebrated!
Piggies in Pajamas, by Michelle Meadows, and painted in watercolor by Ard Hoyt, is sure to bring smiles to youngsters as they’re getting reading for bed. Mama has just put her little piggies to bed and now she’s making phone calls. But she is continually interrupted by noises but every time she looks in at her children, they seem to be fast asleep. The pictures of these rambunctious piggies, who look to be having such fun, have smiling faces throughout.
A Gold Star for Zog, by Julia Donaldson, and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, is a very colorful adventure all told in rhyme. A dragon goes to Madam Dragon’s school to learn how to fly and breathe fire. But Zog, who is trying so hard to earn that gold star, is having all kinds of trouble until someone comes to help. Kids will beg to have this book read and reread!