Newtons Book News

Childrens Book Reviews

April Celebrates Poetry

Poetry is a wonderful medium to showcase the world around us.  The beauty of describing nature, animals, the sky, people and transportation can be done perfectly through the language of poetry.  Poetry should be in every household and read out loud to, and by, children to be ultimately embraced and enjoyed.  Here are some of the newest poetry books to add to your selection.  Unless specified, they are all picture books and are good for all ages.

 

Blooming Beneath the Sun, poems by Christina Rossetti, selected and brilliantly illustrated with vibrant decoupage of construction paper by Ashley Bryan, brings back to life classic poems of nature.  Who Has Seen the Wind?, Mother Shakes the Cherry Tree and Where Innocent Bright-Eyed Daisies Are represent a sampling of these wonderful poems.  Many of the illustrations are on both sides of the open-page and seem to jump off the page.

 

Clickety Track: Poems About Trains, by Skila Brown, and wonderfully illustrated digitally by Jamey Christoph, celebrates different types of trains, cars attached, cabooses and even the train yard.  Most of the poems rhyme but all give a sense of the clickety clack rhythm of these unique modes of transportation. The pictures of the variety of trains are sure to please.  More information about trains is also found in the back of the book.

 

Trees, poems by Verle Hutchens, and every unique tree gorgeously rendered uniquely as a digital collage of block print and then hand painted by Jing Jing Tsong, is a true tribute to this magnificent natural creation.  Each open-page tree is shown throughout with the majesty it deserves.  Some of the pages open side-ways giving a thrust of length to its height.  The aspen leaves glitter with gold and the poem reads: Aspen, tall and graceful, dances on her tippy toes. Her golden leaves like castanets shimmer in the breeze.

 

Origami and Poetry: Inspired by Nature, poems collected and with beautiful collage illustrations done by Clover Robin, reflects the simple joys surrounding us.  One way to appreciate nature is to recreate it by simply folding paper into shapes.  Ms. Robin demonstrates how to create animals such as a squirrel, owl and fox as well as a flower and a shell.  These origami directions are easy to follow and there are special papers included to create your own origami.  The beautiful pictures of each animal will also inspire you to create your own origami.  Each animal has a short poem that perfectly goes along with each shape.  Vincent Bourne’s snail poem goes like this: To grass, or leaf, or fruit, or wall, / The snail sticks close, nor fears to fall, / As if he grew there, house and all.

 

A Pocketful of Poems, poems by Nikki Grimes, and illustrated in vibrant objects of collage by Javaka Steptoe, launches into the first poem about who this poet is and how she enjoys the splendid essence of spring and life and joy.  This is how it begins: I have a pocketful of words. / I play with them sometimes. / I use them in haiku. / You can borrow most of them / if you want to.

 

Bark in the Park: Poems for Dog Lovers, poems by Avery Colman, and brightly illustrated by Hyewon Yum, showcases many different types of dogs (especially on the front and back end-pages).  The poems are humorous, very clever, yet brief as they describe what makes each type of dog unique. Pug: Is the Pug cute / Or is the Pug ugh? / Mostly, people love / The little Pug’s mug.

 

The Day the Universe Exploded My Head: Poems to Take You into Space and Back Again, poems by Allan Wolf, and pictures blasting off the page that were digitally assembled color collages made from sumi ink washes, salt, pen and pencil by Anna Raff, will teach you a thing or two about the sun and planets in our solar system through fun and sometimes funny poetry.  The colors seem to explode off every page as they are in the foreground of deep black space. And, there is much more information found in the back of the book.

 

The Tall Man and the Small Mouse, by Mara Bergman, and painted with wonderful expression by Birgitta Sif, is a darling story told in rhyme.  The tall man never sees the small mouse and the small mouse never crosses paths with the tall man until one day.  And so, the adventure begins.  This book is the perfect example of how a story can be told completely in rhyme.  This story begs to be read out loud!

 

What is Poetry? The Essential Guide to Reading & Writing Poems, by Michael Rosen, welcomes and inspires kids ages eight and up to enjoy not only reading poetry, but to also write their own.  The first chapter is powerful in its simplicity describing what poetry is.  By the end of just that chapter, kids will likely have a better understanding of what makes a poem.  Throughout the book, Rosen demonstrates inventive and substantial poetry to help give kids insight.  This book is also excellent for parents and educators.

 

The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems, selected by Paul B. Janeczko, and perfectly rendered in paint and edited digitally by Richard Jones, is filled with exceptional poems, some familiar and others not.  But all are wonderful and meant to be read with gusto and vigor.  The poems included are How to Ride a Bike, by April Haprin Wayland, The Swing, by Robert Lewis Stevenson and How they Catch a Poem, by Irene Latham.

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