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The Bill Martin Jr Big Book of Poetry Hardcover – Illustrated, November 4, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 2–5—This grand and varied anthology contains an impressive number of old favorites and newer selections. Grouped by theme, such as animals, nature, feelings, school, family, and nonsense, the poems represent an appealing range of humor, pathos, and meditative wonder. Though many of the offerings have been widely anthologized, it's always nice to come across classics by Robert Louis Stevenson, Christina Rossetti, Eleanor Farjeon, and Emily Dickinson. Their poems, along with newer works by Mary Ann Hoberman, Dennis Lee, and Aileen Fisher, among others, are paired with illustrations crafted by an eclectic range of distinguished children's picture-book artists including Ashley Bryan, Lois Ehlert, the Dillons, Chris Raschka, Steven Kellogg, and Dan Yaccarino. There is a smattering of poems by Robert Frost, and tributes to Bill Martin, Jr., from Eric Carle and Steven Kellogg. Five of Martin's poems are included as well. The nine poems in the food chapter represent a savory mix of whimsy and laugh-out-loud humor, including Louis Phillips's "On Eating Porridge Made of Peas," John Ciardi's "Mummy Slept Late and Daddy Fixed Breakfast," and Jack Prelutsky's "Herbert Glerbett." This finely crafted, accessible collection should resonate with a wide audience of readers; it deserves a place in most schools and libraries.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
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The almost 200 selections in this big handsome anthology, created by Martin Jr. and published posthumously with Sampson’s help, have a singing beat that will turn even young kids on to what Steven Kellogg calls the “music of language.” The collection brings together poems from Robert Frost, Christina Rossetti, Langston Hughes, Nikki Grimes, Aliki, Jack Prelutsky, and many other well-known poets. Accompanying the poems are pictures from many of the best picture-book illustrators, whose work, often in the artists’ signature styles, extends the words' lyrical rhythms and playfulness. The pages are spaciously designed and organized into thematic sections, such as animals, people and places, school, nonsense, family, and feelings, closing with a big final group of Mother Goose rhymes. This is a great gift book as well as a strong library and classroom anthology for browsing and reading aloud. Adults, in particular, will enjoy Eric Carle’s moving introduction. Preschool-Grade 3. --Hazel Rochman
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This tremendous treasure of a volume brings back so many wonderful memories of the poetry my parents read to me and offered me the opportunity to read with my children and grow their love of language. To the editor's credit, he did not choose a selection that in any way reads "down" to children, but with poems by Frost, Dickenson, Hughes, and Stevenson, instead sought to lift them up to wonderful heights.
Will your child love all of these poems? Of course not. What he or she will however enjoy is the diversity of the pieces. Moreover, the varied and beautiful illustrations are sure to move even the smallest imagination to new flights of wonder.
I love Bill Martin's Jr. classic Brown Bear books (and the others that follow). They were staples when both of my children were toddlers.
When I saw that he had compiled this book, I was curious (and I trusted it's worth before even buying it). Upon reading it, and sharing it with my four-year-old son -- the worth is undeniable. You know how you sometimes just can't muster the energy or enthusiasm for a bedtime or naptime story (or is that just me)? With this book, not only can you choose to read two short poems or four or five for a longer stretch, but the lyrical rhythm immediately chases away the grumps.
We've almost read all the way through, and my son says we can just start again when we are finished.
The art is done by Steven Kellogg and Lois Ehlert among others, and this work features poems by Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, and more whimsical poetry from Jack Prelutsky and Judith Viorst.
I can't recommend it highly enough. I anticipate that this will be one of my go-to gift ideas for the preschool set.