cover image Here's a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry

Here's a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry

, , illus. by Polly Dunbar. . Candlewick, $21.99 (112pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-3141-3

Here are , actually, 61 little poems, which together provide a high-spirited, engaging introduction to poetry. Gleaned from various countries and representing a refreshing array of voices, the poems fall into four categories of high interest to youngsters: "Me, Myself, and I," "Who Lives in My House?," "I Go Outside" and "Time for Bed." The selections include waggish nonsense verse, rambunctious action rhymes, quieter passages, and snippets of everyday life. Margaret Mahy's "My Sister" typifies the collection's airiness and spunk: "My sister's remarkably light,/ She can float to a fabulous height./ It's a troublesome thing,/ But we tie her with string,/ And we use her instead of a kite." Other contributors include the volume's two anthologists, plus Langston Hughes, Margaret Wise Brown, Eve Merriam, Jack Prelutsky, Charlotte Pomerantz and Lilian Moore. Dunbar's signature cheery, mixed-media art injects new energy into even the most familiar poems; her interpretation of A.A. Milne's "Halfway Down," for instance, portrays a girl on a staircase that seems to spiral up to heaven, while the girl on "The Swing" by Robert Louis Stevenson looks suspended from the clouds, over a collage countryside of textured cloth patterns. This elegant, oversize treasury features children as endearing as the verse they illustrate—well, except perhaps for "The No-No Bird" perched in "the Tantrum Tree," a boy with wings aflame and mouth open in a scream. There's something for everyone here. Ages 6 mos.-5 yrs. (Mar.)