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A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children Hardcover – September 1, 2005

4.8 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 2 Up–From the cover photograph of Kennedy as a toddler reading to her teddy to the red linen-textured endpapers; from her thoughtful introduction and words of encouragement to children at the beginning of each section of carefully chosen poems to Muth's beautifully executed watercolors, this volume is a treasure. In compiling the collection, Kennedy passes on her own family's tradition of creating a scrapbook of poems chosen by the children in lieu of gifts to their mother and grandparents. Divided by topic into seven sections, the collection is, indeed, a treasury of beloved poems written in a variety of styles by poets from many lands and generations, some more familiar than others, some unknown. Most of the soft-focus illustrations fill whole pages. The wide variety of artistic styles–ethereal, realistic, comical, energetic, sweet, romantic–matches the mood of the poems themselves. The 10 translated selections appear at the end of the volume in their original languages. This well-balanced anthology should be a first purchase for school and public libraries. Recommend it as a gift book for parents to share with their children, as well.–Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-7, younger for reading aloud. The Best-loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis was a surprise best-seller, and this equally personal collection will also garner much attention. There's a varied selection here, though weighted toward old (in some cases old, old) favorites: Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snow Evening," a piece of Whitman's "Song of the Open Road," Sandburg's "Buffalo Dusk." Certainly some of those oldies, such as Ogden Nash's "The People Upstairs," have a rambunctious child appeal, and animal lovers will be glad to see cats and dogs represented in poems such as Dylan Thomas' "The Song of the Mischievous Dog." Among the contemporary poets included are Jack Prelutsky, Nikki Giovanni, and Sandra Cisneros. A short, delightful poem about the sea by a young Jacqueline Bouvier (Onassis) is tucked into the section entitled "Seashore." Other topical chapters include "About Me," "That's So Silly," and "Bedtime." Tying everything together are Muth's engaging watercolors, which are as adept in catching the humor of some poems as they are in reflecting the power of others. Children who might not readily take to poetry may be lured by art, which continually delights. Kennedy personalizes the book with an introduction. A roundup of foreign poems in their original languages and a first-line index are appended. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 1 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion; First Edition edition (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786851112
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786851119
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have about 20 anthologies of poetry for children, and this is clearly the best in my collection. The poems are beautifully crafted and many are fairly complex, yet they are all accessible and interesting to children (mine are finishing up 1st & 2nd grade). Plus the watercolor illustrations are absolutely exquisite.

The other thing I love about this book is its integrity. This does not appear to be a random selection of poems chosen by an unrelated committee of people (like some of my other anthologies). As diverse as the poetry selections are, there is still something coherent about them -- they fit together and work together in a very satisfying way.

I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Because I have a jaundiced view of celebrity books, I'll admit that I was skeptical about an anthology compiled by Caroline Kennedy. But the fact is that Ms. Kennedy has done an admirable job with this young person's poetry collection. The poets are sometimes unexpected (Sylvia Plath has a charming bedtime poem here that I had never read) and the poems are not necessarily the obvious ones that one would expect to find in a book like this.

There are nonsense rhymes, but they seem to be the best ones; no doggerel here. And as you can see from this review's title, I was especially happy to see one particular poem represented. :)
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Format: Hardcover
This book is absolutely beautiful...the variety and quality of Kennedy's selections is right on...the Muth paintings are brilliant and complement the words perfectly. I got chills flipping through it for the first time...will be a classic.
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Format: Hardcover
OK, I HATE to give this book a bad review because the selection of poetry is outsanding and the watercolor paintings are magnificent. BUT, it is a disgrace that the editor of this anthalogy let so many typos in! I read only about 20 of the poems to my son and found 3 of them had typos! A wrong word in a poem really screws up the poem. Alfred Lord Tennyson's the Eagle is now "he clasps the crag with crooked hands, close to the sun in lonely HANDS" (instead of lands).

There were several others like that, and I shut the book. Lucky for us it was from the library. If they ever print a new edition utilizing a better editor, I would love to buy this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Caroline Kennedy kicks off this anthology by saying that there is "a world of word and feelings that poetry can help us understand" and her comprehensive and creative poem choice sets out to prove this. She collects some really interesting choices, from the "classics" like Robert Frost, Emily Dickenson, the Bible, and ee cummings to many excellent contemporary poems and poets. The book is clearly divided into seven sections: About Me, That's So Silly!, Animals, The Seasons, The Seashore, Adventure, and Bedtime that keep the anthology neatly organized. Each section is punctuated by events, stories, and recollections from Kennedy's own life, but they are kept to a minimum so it never feels like a "celebrity book". At the end is a useful index of the first lines of every poem and the non-English poems in their original form.

However this really is not Kennedy's book. It truly belongs to illustrator Jon J Muth, who raises the bar on this anthology beyond a simple collection and into a spectacular emotional experience. His watercolor illustrations are gorgeous in their simplicity, often showing the original pencil sketches through the paint, but with an impressive level of detail, such as the individual buckles on a suitcase the size of a thumb. His illustrations are not always sensical or realistic, often going with the emotional flow of the selected poems and incorporating whimsical abstractions, like a man with a crown made of ice cream cones on his head. Often the text and the paintings work together in brilliant symbiosis, such as in his dark sunset for "These Are the Days When Birds Come Back" or the simple and smudgy peacock feather. His work is also admirable for including so many people of color as a matter of course, and not just for poems by minority authors.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We own several poetry books for children (Talking Like the Rain, 20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury), and while we have enjoyed reading those with our children, this one truly outshines the others. The illustrations are what make this collection superior. They are bold and colorful without being a distraction. The selection of poems is superb and hopefully in reading this book with your children, they will fall in love with language and the imagery it evokes. This is a classic!
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Format: Hardcover
I bought my copy in the child's section at my bookstore. I think a "Family" or an "All Ages" section needs to be created. This book of poetry, as well as the beautiful watercolor illustrations, are to be enjoyed by young and old. For older readers, the poems of youth are read with a warm smile and for the young readers, they can look forward to growing up with this book. Favorite Poems of Jackie Kennedy is also excellent. If you are interested in poetry and don't know where to start, either book is a great place to begin. (Off topic, Patriot's Handbook is terrific, too.) Caroline Kennedy is definitely on to something here. I hope it continues.
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