cover image Poems to Learn by Heart

Poems to Learn by Heart

Caroline Kennedy, illus. by Jon J Muth. Disney-Hyperion, $19.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-4231-0805-4

Kennedy and Muth return with a stellar second poetry compilation, following 2005’s A Family of Poems. Meant to be memorized, the more than 100 poems are divided into nine thematic sections—family, friendships, war, and nature, among others—and come from such writers as Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Nikki Grimes, Linda Sue Park, and Gary Soto; biblical verses are included, and the Gettysburg Address appears in full. Muth’s lush paintings demonstrate similar range: an abandoned red tricycle joins Ogden Nash’s “The Parent” (“Children aren’t happy with nothing to ignore,/ And that’s what parents were created for”), and he stretches his comedic muscles in sections devoted to fantastical creatures and nonsense poems. Once readers have memorized the poems, Kennedy writes, “they won’t even need this book.” True, but with such a rich diversity of verse and stunning artwork, that would be a shame. All ages. (Mar.)