Friday, October 17, 2014

Poetry Friday with a review of A Little Bitty Man and other poems for the very young

Not that many poetry titles for young readers are published every year and so I went to the library looking for some older titles to review when I came across today's book. The artwork and the poems have a nostalgic feel that is charming.

A Little Bitty Man and other poems for the very youngA Little Bitty Man and other poems for the very young
Halfdan Rasmussen
Translated by Marilyn Nelson and Pamela Espeland
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Candlewick Press, 2011, 978-0-7636-2379-1
Children live in a world where simple things can be magical, and magical things can be commonplace. It is a rather wonderful place where the imagination can make anything possible, and where the little things that adults don’t appreciate anymore still seem wondrous.
   In this beautifully presented poetry picture book the innocence, silliness and curiosity that children have comes alive in thirteen poems. Some tell a little story, while others explore everyday things that happen in children’s lives.
   In A Little Bitty Man we meet a very small man who rides around on a snail and who finds himself in a place, “Littlebittyland,” where he builds a life for himself. There is also a poem about a little cloud which goes out for a walk. As if drifts across the sky it looks down on the world below and all is well, until it realizes that it needs ‘to go’ and it doesn’t have “a potty.” Just like a little child, the cloud has an accident and when it gets home it gets “a scolding from its mom.”
   Some of the poems contain the kind of common sense wisdom that children come up with, much to the embarrassment of their grownups. For example in Those Fierce Grown-up Soldiers a child tells adult soldiers “who shoot guns and fight” that they should do what children do. They should battle with toys and then “if your war won’t end,” they should tickle their enemy until he or she becomes a friend.
   Poems like these are little gems, gifts that should be shared with children who will appreciate the tone and flavor that infuses every line. To accompany the poems Kevin Hawkes has created wonderful illustrations that are rich with detail and full of expressive characters.

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