Monday, February 11, 2013

Forget-Me-Nots Poems to Learn by Heart

Horn Book (May/June, 2012)

Former Children’s Poet Laureate Hoberman has selected more than 120 poems that are good choices for memorization. She divides the poems into eleven sections, beginning with "The Short of It" -- very short poems, such as limericks, perfect for building confidence. Other sections include "Happiness," "Weather and Seasons," and "The Long of It" -- very long poems such as Edward Lear’s "The Jumblies" and Hoberman’s own "The Llama Who Had No Pajama." Poets include some who wrote originally for adults (Frost, de la Mare, Tolkien) as well as many famous children’s poets both old (Milne, Stevenson) and new (Kuskin, Schertle, Grimes, and others). The collection altogether is a treasure trove of the familiar and the fresh, including Nancy Willard’s evocative "Magic Story for Falling Asleep": "When the last giant came out of his cave / and his bones turned into the mountain…" In a few cases Hoberman has excerpted from a longer poem for a more manageable length. Emberley’s watercolor, pastel, and pencil pictures both embellish and illustrate the poems, sometimes providing one picture for a poem and sometimes tying multiple poems together with a larger illustration. The collection concludes with an index of first lines and tips on memorizing a poem. A wonderful gift book for poetry lovers, but even children who have never considered learning a poem by heart will find much to love here. susan dove lempke

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