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Poetry Speaks to Children (Book & CD) (A Poetry Speaks Experience) Hardcover – October 1, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Grade 3-8–A fine, basic collection. Approximately half of the 97 selections are read or performed on the accompanying CD. The book provides a mix of adult writers (Rita Dove, Seamus Heaney, and Billy Collins, among others) and those whose work is specifically for children, such as X. J. Kennedy and Mary Ann Hoberman. Topics include childhood, animals, nonsense poems, and humor (including C. K. Williams's Gas, which dwells on the fact that FARTING IS FORBIDDEN!). The three illustrators have captured the different tones of the selections, from a comic portrait of the Jabberwock slayer wearing a colander and wielding a plunger and the wailing children in William Stafford's First Grade, to the moving paintings of a girl with flowers echoing the natural images of James Berry's Okay, Brown Girl, Okay. The CD gives children the opportunity to hear several of the poets, such as Robert Frost reading Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening and Langston Hughes reading The Negro Speaks of Rivers. They hear a variety of accents and dialects–an Irish lilt, New England inflections, or James Berry's lilting Jamaican-British voice. Readers of Roald Dahl's books will enjoy hearing him read The Dentist and the Crocodile, and fans of The Lord of the Rings books and movies will appreciate hearing Tolkien read Frodo's Song in Bree. Joy Harjo frames her Eagle Poem with a haunting vocalization that echoes its serious tone.–Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 3-5. Teachers will celebrate this wide-ranging collection of both classic and contemporary poetry, including selections from Robert Bly and Rainer Maria Rilke, who aren't often included in anthologies for youth. There's little organization, although similarly themed selections sometimes appear together (the witches' lines from Macbeth come just after Karla Kuskin's "Knitted Things," also about a witch, for example). Almost every poem appears on a heavily illustrated page, and the literal, cheerful, color illustrations of animals and young children often overwhelm the imagery in the words. The pictures are handsome, but they seem aimed mostly at a picture-book audience. Many selections, such as Mary Ann Hoberman's "Rabbit," are appropriate for picture-book readers, but a large proportion of the poems will be most enjoyed by older elementary students, who will be able to focus on the words and appreciate the magnificent selection. A CD containing audio tracks of the poems being read aloud, in many cases by the poets themselves, rounds out the package. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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I often give this as a baby shower gift, and parents tend to comment that not only do they love the illustrations and of course the selection of poems, but also the ability to have their kids exposed to poetry from the start. Several friends have said their kids listen to the CD as they fall asleep.
Now my daughter has been listening to it every night before bed and often I play it early in the morning to gentle wake her before kindergarten.
There are some classic recorded poems here such as "The Raven" by Poe, "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll, "The Tyger" by William Blake and "Casey at the Bat" by Earnst L. Thayer.
There are also some very nice multicultural poems recorded such as "Eagle Poem" by Joy Harjo, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" by Langston Hughes, and perhaps my favorite poem in the collection "Okay, Brown Girl, Okay" by James Berry which is reassuring, touching, and can speak to everyone about what it's like to be different among other people.
Not all of the poems are included on the CD--some are just included in the book. Familiar poems and poets in the book only are "from Macbeth" by Shakespeare, "The Tale of Custard the Dragon" by Ogden Nash, "Frodo's Song in Bree" by J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Land of Counterpane" by Robert Louis Stevenson, from "The Bed Book" by Sylvia Plath, "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" by Eugene Field, and "Letter to a Bee" by Emily Dickinson among many others.
In all there are 95 poems. Some of them recorded and/or published for the first time. The illustration are delightful and done by three different artist with different styles. They are Judy Love, Wendy Rasmussen, and Paula Zinngrabe Wendland.
This book/CD combo is a winner. It's very educational, fun, and will be enjoyed by the whole family.
The illustrations by Judy Love, Wendy Rasmussen, and Paula Zinngrabe Wendland are amazing and bring anticipation and excitement to the poems even before they are read or heard. They set the stage for the character of the poem to come. The cover illustration by Judy Love further sets the tone for the entire book with two children and several of the animals that will appear later in the book eagerly anticipating the obvious fun that is to come.
I hardily recommend this book for any family with young children for them to fully experience the magic of poetry and art.