cover image First Poems

First Poems

Julia Eccleshare. Bedrick, $16.95 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-87226-373-4

Although Young's ( My Grandpa's Got Big Pockets ) amiable watercolor vignettes are cheerful and abundant, this collection of ``first poems'' for children is rather lackluster. Eccleshare ( Stories for Four-Year-Olds ; etc.) includes some old favorites like Edward Lear's ``Jumblies'' and ``The Owl and the Pussycat,'' but the tone of the volume is better reflected by Brian Patten's ``Squeezes'': ``We love to squeeze bananas. / We love to squeeze ripe plums. / And when they are feeling sad / We love to squeeze our mums.'' Occasional poems, such as Walter de la Mare's ``The Horseman'' or Roger McGough's ``Mrs Moon,'' offer thoughtful and intriguing imagery. For the most part, however, the selections are cloying (``I love my darling tractor / I love its merry din,'' writes Charles Causley) or are relentlessly rhymed and metered (``When he my younger sister met, / He opened wide and ate her.''--Colin West). Only sporadically amusing and rarely inspiring, this volume can't match the variety of Beatrice Schenk de Regniers's Sing a Song of Popcorn or Lee Bennett Hopkins's Side by Side. Ages 4-up. (May)