Children's Books, Three Book Thursday

Fall And Poems: Three Book Thursday, The Poem Edition

Welcome to Three Book Thursday! Three Book Thursday is a feature that’s all about sharing the joy of books with children. To read more posts like this one, go here!

Autumn is so lovely.  I always find myself saying this with surprise, because I am decidedly not an “I love all things fall!” type of person. I despise pumpkin spice lattes. I could not care less for sweaters and boots. Layering clothes for myself and three little one is just frustrating, and coats make me straight up angry. I am a throw on a tank top and shorts and call it done type of girl. But when Fall actually comes, I taste its delights. An October sky is the deepest blue imaginable. A chill in the air makes eyes twinkle with the sheer delight of change and the whisper of holidays ahead. The warm blankets and the early darkness draw us into a more restful time.

And then there is the poetry. Fall always calls me to read poetry. (It also screams “Fantasy” at me, but that’s another post). This year, I followed the lead of so many wise Wings from the Wind: An Anthology of Poemsmothers and educators, and sought out some poetry to share with my children. The book I’m using to do this right now is Wings from the Wind: An Anthology of Poems Selected and Illustrated by Tasha Tudor.  I have always loved Tasha Tudor’s illustrations. We just read Pumpkin Moonshine for school this week, too. I usually find that her illustrations are what I love about her books the most. The actual text isn’t usually as enthralling or entertaining as I hope it will be.  This anthology is the perfect marriage! She includes poems from Robert Louis Stevenson, Emily Dickinson, and Rachel Field, among many others, with illustrations on every page to make the poems come alive to little ones. For whatever reason, I get a deep level of comfort from reading this book, by myself or with my littles.

I haven’t had a chance to dive further into poetry books yet this week, but I plan to in the coming months of Fall. What are your favorite children’s poetry books, or grown up poetry that the whole family can enjoy? I’d love to hear from you!

31 Days, Children's Books

Permanent Marker For The Brain, Or Poetry for Children

I am a reluctant poetry fan. I have favorite poems and poets, and I am glad to have poetry included in the literature I’ve studied. Tennyson, Rosetti, Frost, and so many other wonderful wordsmiths have enriched my thoughts through their works. However, I sometimes doubt that I ever would have read a poem on my own if it hadn’t been for my schooling. I’m not naturally drawn to it, even though I remember it’s an amazing art form once I start reading. There’s something about a poem that can lodge itself in your consciousness for life. “There was a girl who had a curl…” etc. My mom let us choose the poems we wanted to memorize for school, but memorize them we had to. I can’t say I remember an entire poem besides one or two of Emily Dickinson’s, but bits and pieces of many different poems pop into my head at random throughout life.

389956Poems can stay with you for a long time, but a poem with a picture to go with it is like a permanent marker for the brain. I was probably eight or nine (or maybe older?) when my mom got Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Brothers: A Collection of Family Poems by Mary Ann HobermanI loved those poems so much, I memorized them for fun. My favorite one was called “Vacation”:

In my head I hear a humming:
Summer, summer summer’s coming.
Soon we’re going on vacation
But there is a complication:
Day by day the problem’s growing-
We don’t know yet where we’re going!

Mother likes the country best;
That’s so she can read and rest.
Dad thinks resting is a bore;
He’s for fishing at the shore.
Sailing is my brother’s pick;
Sailing makes my sister sick;
She says swimming’s much more cool,
Swimming in a swimming pool.
As for me, why, I don’t care,
I’d be happy anywhere!

In my head I hear a humming:
Summer, summer, summer’s coming.
Soon we’re going on vacation
But we have a complication:
Day by day the problem’s growing-
Where oh where will we be going?

The illustrations by Marylin Hafner make the poems in the book come alive. I highly recommend it. And I highly recommend any book by Mary Ann Hoberman. The Seven Silly Eaters is particularly awesome.

Where the Sidewalk EndsAnd let’s not forget the classic triple threat of Shel Silverstein, who wrote poems, illustrated the poems, and recorded the poems (and won a Grammy for it). I loved listening to “Peanut Butter Sandwich” and my mom called me “Peggy Ann McKay” from the poem “Saturday” so many times! I wasn’t quite that level of a hypochondriac, but it always made me smile. Or at least want to smile. Yes, Shel Silverstein’s poems are a little weird. I can’t defend the man, but I’ll defend his poems (albeit weakly–how can you defend nonsense?) forever.

There are so many wonderful poetry books for little ones. Clearly, I prefer the ones on the sillier side. Or at least those are the ones that have stuck with me. I’m ashamed to say that not one verse from Robert Lewis Stevenson’s famed A Child’s Garden of Verses remains in my memory. Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky,” however…well, that just proves my point–my poetry taste is ridiculously unsophisticated. Maybe if I really think about it, the more wholesome and elegant poems will come to mind for a Part 2 of Poetry for Children.

This is Day 15 of  the series 31 Days of Picture Books. Catch up on the other posts in the series here.

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