From School Library Journal
Grade 2-6-According to Hall, "Poetry for our children began with Native American cradle songs, moved on to a rhymed alphabet, bloomed in the 19th century with 'A Visit from St. Nicholas,' expanded in the 20th, and continues with vigor into the 21st." In selecting poems from two centuries-and a bit more-the editor revisits his earlier, unadorned collection, The Oxford Book of Children's Verse in America (1985). Here, a smaller number of entries are presented in a large format pairing the poetry with an appealing array of black-and-white and full-color fine-art reproductions. Perhaps two thirds of the selections appeared in the earlier volume, and the chronological assembly includes a few newly chosen poems as well as many added poets, including e. e. cummings, Ogden Nash, and Gwendolyn Brooks. The newly added Native American pieces that open this book and the diverse voices of the late 20th century add a welcome dimension. There's a strong strain of humor throughout, but small quiet poems, lullabies, and odes to special moments are abundant, too. And, of course, there are those favorite story poems-John Greenleaf Whittier's "Barbara Frietchie," James Whitcomb Riley's "Little Orphant Annie," and Ernest Lawrence Thayer's "Casey at the Bat," among others. An inviting treasury for family and classroom sharing and an elegant gift book as well.Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This anthology begins with Native American cradle songs and such early classics as "A Visit from St. Nicholas" and "The Village Blacksmith" before it moves on to enduring favorites by great poets, including Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg, and Robert Frost. It ends with poems by some of the best poets writing for children today: X. J. Kennedy, Karla Kuskin, Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, Sonia Sanchez, Lucille Clifton, Nikki Giovanni, Gary Soto, Pat Mora, Janet Wong, and more. In just a few cases the words are printed over elaborately colored paintings, and the poetry is lost; but, in general, the design is handsome, with thick paper, lots of white space, and archival illustrations that quietly convey a sense of the place and the time when the poem was written. This is a collection for reading aloud across generations, to give children a taste of what happens when, as David McCord says, "Books fall open / You fall in." Hazel Rochman