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Collected Poems for Children Hardcover – March 20, 2007

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Children's Christmas Books
Visit the Children's Christmas Bookstore to find stories about Santa and his reindeer, cozy books to read by the fire, and sweet stories about family celebrations.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 6
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); First American Edition edition (March 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374314292
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374314293
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,432,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–6—Hughes penned more than 250 poems expressly for children, which were previously published in The Mermaid's Purse, The Cat and the Cuckoo, Season Songs, and others. Now they are gathered together in one book beginning with the volumes most suited for elementary-age children and progressing in complexity. Some of Hughes's witty and irreverent verses require sophisticated and patient readers because he includes creative grammar when he wants them to rhyme ("Far undergrounded, Moon-miners dumbfounded") and uses mixed cadences within a single poem that confound reading aloud without practice. Words more commonly used in England, "your telly's there," and "pans spitting by sixes" may slow some American children; however, the sheer variety of poetic styles will please many others. Briggs's stellar ink, mostly realistic illustrations suffuse the sections for younger children, where animals and family are the subjects, and become sparer for longer narrative poems. Although the audience may be somewhat limited, this is an important addition to any large poetry collection.—Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

For reading aloud at home and in the classroom, this collection of 250 poems by the late English poet laureate Ted Hughes begins with those he published for younger children in collections such as Meet My Folks (1961) and The Cat and the Cuckoo (1987) before moving on to more sophisticated works, which he said he wrote "within hearing" of children. From the eyelash of a baby hare to the gruesome action of the Loch Ness monster, the images swing from tenderness to farce, and in some verses the two come together: in "My Brother Bert," "The very thought makes me iller and iller: / Bert's brought home a gigantic gorilla." Children will love the sounds of the rhythmic lines, and Briggs' scattering of small black-and-white drawings perfectly captures the tiny details in the words. Some poems will be read over and over again. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Herold on April 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Once in awhile a book comes along that's difficult for me to review. Ted Hughes' "Collected Poems for Children," illustrated by Raymond Briggs, is one such book. I just want to tell you: "This book is great. You must buy it." But an imperative does not a review make, so I'll elaborate.

Ted Hughes' "Collected Poems for Children" is a book every home, library, and school should own. Containing over 250 poems Hughes wrote over his lifetime, it begins with poems written for the very young and concludes with those written for teens. The poems are presented as Hughes intended, in books--beginning with "The Mermaid's Purse" and concluding with "Season Songs." The natural world--animals, plants, the moon, weather--is Hughes' most frequent subject and his verse is direct and classically composed. Take for example, this selection from one of my favorite poems from "The Cat and the Cuckoo" (the second book in the collection, aimed at children about eight years old):

"The Cat"

You need your Cat.

When you slump down

All tired and flat

With too much town

With too many lifts

Too many floors

Too many neon-lit



Then stroke the Cat

That warms your knee

You'll find her purr

Is a battery

For into your hands

Will flow the powers

Of the beasts who ignore

These ways of ours

And you'll be refreshed

Through the Cat on your lap

With a Leopard's yawn

And a Tiger's nap.

These short, simple lines bring an entire world to a child--a world they know well. A world of corridors, and elevators, and town.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Occasionally dark, always fun, and ridiculously smart and imaginative, I think I may like Ted Hughes' Collected Poems for Children better than his ones for grown-ups. After I read this book I ordered a copy immediately for my nephew. My regret is that I had not found these while my own boys were still young. Some are on par with Shel Silverstein, some are Suess-ish, others more like Philip Larkin (that is to say, adult poems hiding beneath children's rhyme and symbolism).

Great stuff!
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By Hound on December 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Disappointed in condition of book. Very faded cover. Item was listed as new. Could not give this as a gift. I would be ashamed.
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