Instead of my usual Wednesday Picture Book Review today, I wanted to share with you an often overlooked genre of picture books that your kids will probably enjoy: Poetry!
My kids love poetry! I should probably qualify that statement by saying they actually enjoy the poetry we have read out loud to them and the poetry we have given them to read. They aren’t tackling Paradise Lost or The Lady Of The Lake, but they are all eager to listen when I sit down to read a book of children’s poetry. We even have a couple audio books of great children’s poetry that our kids listen to as a part of their learning. The poems are read by the authors or by actors, and it has been so fun to hear one child or another start quoting a poem in the voice of the actor only to have another sibling join in to finish. Maybe we’re just easily entertained, but I think it’s pretty fun.
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Poetry is written to be read aloud, and the rhyming makes it easy and predictable listening. Children’s poetry books are full of illustrations, and the poems are short, so kids can stay interested through a poem or two. Because the books do not follow a plot, you can easily flip to any page, read a few poems, and put it away without having to read the whole book. I love that for before nap time reading or on nights when there isn’t time for a long bedtime story.
Here are some of the poetry books my kids and I have enjoyed (If you click on the links, it will take you to the Amazon listing for that book):
This classic is an easy introduction to short and silly rhymes. We also have an old recording of a record from my mother’s childhood that has lots of nursery rhymes. The girls often like to listen to that recording at naptime.
Some poems in this book can be challenging for little ones to understand (Stevenson uses a larger vocabulary than more modern children’s poets), but there are lots of fun and easy poems as well. We like “The Swing” and “I Have A Little Shadow,” for starters.
We have a book that has all of A.A. Milne’s works for children (he was the author of Winnie the Pooh), and I love his poetry. It’s not all about Pooh and his friends, but Christopher Robin (Milne’s actual son) does make an appearance in many of the poems. “Us Two” is a favorite for me.
I just read this to the kids during our study on Manners. To be honest, the first poem is the best. The poems are all very moral in tone, but the kids enjoyed reading through them and looking at the strange illustrations.
Liam is a big fan of Edward Lear. He is known for nonsense rhymes. I grew up enjoying “The Owl and the Pussy Cat,” and Liam loves his limericks.
The boys love this book. In fact, our hardback copy has lost it’s cover and is falling to pieces from how much it has been read! Shel Silverstein wrote several poetry books. He is very sarcastic and his illustrations are along the lines of Quentin Blake (who illustrated all the Roald Dahl books that we have read). Parents should know that there may be a bare bottom shown in an illustration, and his poems could be considered subversive.
We have all enjoyed these two audiobooks:
Here is Liam, reciting a favorite poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter” from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll:
What do you think of this list? Did I miss any good ones? Please let me know in the comments – we would love to hear about more good poetry books for kids!
If you’d like to read these books, your library should have most of them, and your local bookstore should be able to get them for you. But, if you are planning a purchase on Amazon, would you please use our link?
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