Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April is poetry month… and a shameless plug for my book of poetry

Until a couple generations ago, memorizing and reciting poetry was part of literacy.  Somehow, "memorize" became a bit of a dirty word in education, and focus on "basic skills" crowded out poetry along with the arts.  It's a loss.

My collection of poems (not particularly for young readers, though there is nothing offensive included) is now available on Amazon as either a paperback or eBook for Kindle:

The following link is to a reading of a classic poem by William Wordsworth ("I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud"), followed by one of the short poems from my book, a poem I titled originally with parenthesis because I expected to give it a "real" title later:  "(Wordsworth Had Daffodils)".

Next, eight short poems by Karla Kuskin, one of my favorite contemporary poets for children:

And finally, the poem "Moon Song" by Mildred Plew Meigs (who died in 1944).  When I was a preschooler, my mother bought us The Golden Book of Poetry, edited by Jane Werner and illustrated by Gertrude Elliot.  The date my mother wrote into the front page is January 1958; the first copyright date listed was 1947.  Now the cover is taped together and the pages are fragile and yellowing.  I always loved the picture that went with this poem, and the sound of it:

…. as I have time, I'll add a few more poems during April.
Today, another old favorite: "The Dormouse and the Doctor" by A. A. Milne, from his book When We Were Very Young.  Younger children probably enjoy this mostly for the sound; as adults, we enjoy the irony.

A reading of The Superlative Horse, by Jean Merrill

On Facebook a few weeks ago, I saw a post listing the "best horse books of all time".  Among the titles it missed was this great (and mostly forgotten) longer picture book:
   The Superlative Horse, by Jean Merrill, illustrated by Ronni Solbert.  I believe I originally acquired this book as a paperback from a school "book order" (probably Scholastic Books), in about third grade.  Eventually I bought a hardback, discarded from a library.  According to the copyright information, it was published in 1961.  The subtitle on the cover reads "A Tale of Ancient China", which I interpret to mean that it is probably a retelling of a folk tale. Although the pictures are not essential to enjoy the story, they are wonderful as well.

For my grandchildren, and anyone else who wants to listen, here is my reading of the classic story…