Friday, April 20, 2012


Poetry.  I can hear the collective sigh from high schoolers all over.  I think there are many people who think poetry is created to torture high-school English students.  I know, because I was one of them.  But in college I took a great literature course that included Shakespeare's sonnets and one day I found myself mesmerized by the words of Sonnet 116:

"Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove: . . . "

The professor went into great detail about the meaning and the construction, and thus I, gasp, actually enjoyed a poem!  I think the cure for the fear of poetry is to read it more often to young children so they are used to hearing the different rhythms and language.  

I was excited when I saw this new collection of poetry compiled by Mary Ann Hoberman, the 2008-2010 Children's Poet Laureate, Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart, illustrated by Michael Emberley.  It has a large collection of poems, short and long, sad and funny, from authors ranging from Shel Silverstein to Carl Sandburg.  The watercolor illustrations are fun, colorful and expressive and make it picture book-esque in that the child has something to look at while listening. 

The collection has a strong emphasis on memorization with tips and techniques at the end. I love what Hoberman says of memorization in her introduction:"When you learn a poem by heart, it becomes a part of you.  You know it in your mind, in your mouth, in your ears, in your whole body.  And best of all, you know it forever."   

Yesterday I was watching a friend's two-year-old boy who was on the verge of sleep and I needed to keep him awake until his mom came to get him.  I pulled this book out and had him laughing at Ruth Krauss' The Happy Egg and following the words while studying the illustrations of Mary Ann Hoberman's Snow.  If you are looking for an introduction to poetry I highly recommend this new collection - it has a wide variety and is very approachable.  

I received a review copy of this book - however, all opinions are my own.


Julie Hedlund said...

This book looks phenomenal. Thanks for sharing!

Diane Mayr said...

As soon as I get back to the library on Monday, I'm writing up an order card for this one!

Even in Australia said...

This is the second review of this I've seen and now I really can't wait to get it from the library!

Also, thanks for the recommendation for the Princess Posey books. My 6yo loves them and I posted a review over at my blog, too.

Ruth said...

I agree -- reading poetry to children is key. I've read it to mine since they were babies. And I read it to my students every single day. Not too much, but just the right amount, I hope. And I hope it's getting through.

Rachel said...

I'm going to have to get this one!