I have to say that I honestly believe that a child is never really too young to listen to poetry. Even if they have no clue what you saying, little children enjoy the sound of your voice, the musical ups and downs that are inherent in so many poems. The book I reviewed here is perfect for young children. The poems were carefully chosen to suit little children, and the art work is quite delightful to look at.
Collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters
Illustrated by Polly Dunbar
For ages 3 to 6
Candlewick Press, 2007, 978-0-7636-3141-3
When you are a young child, long poems, like long books or long dresses or long beds, are not a good fit. You need poems that are short, sweet, and written just for someone who is your age. For this memorable collection, Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek have brought together old poems and new ones that are especially suited to children who are exploring poetry for the first time.
The book is divided into four sections, each one of which focuses on one aspect of a young child’s life. In “Me, Myself, and I” there are bright and warm poems that look at the world as seen through the eyes of a child. There are poems about “me” and “I” and “we.” There are poems about food and getting dressed, about falling down stairs and jumping. There are birthday poems, a piggy back poem, and even a tantrum poem.
The section called “Who lives in my house?” explores the various people and animals that young children live with. There are cats, hamsters, puppies, siblings, parents, and grandparents. Sometimes the times shared are wonderful, like when a cat kisses its little child awake with “sandpaper kisses.” Sometimes they are confusing, like the time when a little boy wonders why his mother is having a baby. After all, “what’s the matter with me?” he asks.
Next, we “Go Outside,” to eat ice cream, to plant a little seed, to go to the beach, and to walk in the rain. Oh, and don’t forget playing in the mud. There is nothing quite like wallowing in “glorious mud!”
And then there are the “Time for bed poems,” the poems that are full of cozy moments, bedtime stories, hugs, cuddles, and sleepy dreams that curl around the bed and that float out of the window.
Throughout this collection, the words of Hilaire Beloc, Nikki Grimes, Jane Yolen, A.A. Milne and many other poets are accompanied by the charming and whimsical multimedia illustrations created by Polly Dunbar. This is a stellar collection that will show little children how wonderful poems can be.