Rhyme Time

A diverse collection of titles introduces young people to poetry's varying moods and styles. Kuskin will capture readers from the opening "Foreword poem" onward in Moon, Have You Met My Mother?: The Collected Poems of Karla Kuskin, illus. by Sergio Ruzzier, which not only introduces the poems to come, but also succinctly expresses why she writes. New works share space with fans' dog-eared favorites, such as the sad tale of Charlie and the cat who goes missing "when they were neither here not there,/ stopping for gas/ along the road in Maine," or her advice to "Write about a radish/ Too many people write about the moon." Her humor infuses verse to entertain ("The lion looks extremely proud./ But when he eats,/ he chews too loud") as well as to make the medicine go down ("I need to read./ It's a little like breathing/ or eating/ or drinking/ my life's link to thinking"). Ruzzier's line illustrations resemble some of Sendak's early drawings, with just the right blend of sophistication and levity. (HarperCollins/Geringer, $16.99 336p ages 5-up ISBN 0-06-027173-6; Feb.)

There's Always Pooh and Me, illus. by Ernest H. Shepard, culls 23 works by A.A. Milne, originally published in When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. The handsome volume brims with Shepard's enchanting spot illustrations set against nursery-hued spreads, made playful with doses of large, decorative type and shiny, copper-colored endpapers. (Dutton, $15.99 64p all ages ISBN 0-525-47071-9; Mar.)

Lively clay, paint and collage illustrations accompany more than 60 time-honored rhymes in Hey, Diddle, Diddle: A Children's Book of Nursery Rhymes, selected and illus. by Linda Bronson. A spread of multiethnic children, sporting fur-trimmed purple, pink or yellow hats, join hands around a mulberry bush, their three-dimensional figures casting shadows against a white backdrop; Little Miss Muffet appears in a pleated pink apron and felt skirt, with a clay bowl for curds and whey while, beside her, a purple spider descends the pinstripe wall. Peter Piper, Little Bo-Peep and Wee Willie Winkie also people this exquisitely designed volume. (Holt, $17.95 48p ages 2-5 ISBN 0-8050-6754-X; Apr.)

With more than 20 poems ranging from Eugene Field's classic "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" to Nancy Willard's never-before-published "Rock Me," Lullaby Moons and a Silver Spoon: A Book of Bedtime Songs and Rhymes, illus. by Brooke Dyer, possesses a pleasingly soporific charm. Dyer's fanciful watercolors appear in framed spreads throughout. Her North Wind resembles Santa Claus, and when the apple-cheeked moon, who slumbers throughout the collection, awakens on the final spread for Christina Rossetti's "Lullaby, Oh Lullaby!" the effect is quite climactic. (Little, Brown, $15.95 32p all ages ISBN 0-316-17474-2; Apr.)

More than 30 poets conjure island life—the sea, storytelling, food, nature and the experience of travelling away from home—in Under the Moon & Over the Sea: A Collection of Caribbean Poems, ed. by John Agard and Grace Nichols, illus. by Christopher Corr, Sara Fanelli, Cathie Felstead, Satoshi Kitamura and Jane Ray. Divided into five sections, the volume presents more than 50 works, from Creole ("If you go to crab dance/ you mus' get mud") and Caribbean ("Don't spread tablecloth till pot done boil") proverbs to traditional rhymes and songs to poems (including several by co-editor Nichols), some of which are previously unpublished (such as a few by co-editor Agard). (Candlewick, $17.99 80p ages 6-up ISBN 0-7636-1861-6; Jan.)

Nature's wonders unfold in The Sun in Me: Poems About the Planet, ed. by Judith Nicholls, illus. by Beth Krommes. The anthology presents 29 works by poets from various times and places including Sappho, Emily Dickinson and John Updike. Created first on scratchboard, then photocopied and brushed with watercolors, Krommes's art fairly bursts from the pages. (Barefoot, $16.99 40p all ages ISBN 1-84148-058-4; Feb.)

"Go placidly/ amid the noise and haste,/ and remember what peace/ there may be in silence." Max Ehrmann's inspirational poem, first published in 1927, Desiderata: Words for Life, is here introduced to a new generation. Marc Tauss's photographs give it a cutting-edge feel: the opening line accompanies a full-color photograph of New York City at sunrise, nary a car in motion; opposite "If you compare yourself/ with others,/ you may become vain or bitter,/ for always/ there will be greater/ and lesser persons/ than yourself," he pairs a b&w photograph of a statue of George Washington flanked by Roman columns. A portion of each sale will benefit Children's International Summer Villages and the Daniel Pearl Foundation. (Scholastic, $15.95 48p ages 10-up ISBN 0-439-37293-3; Mar.)

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's classic Paul Revere's Ride is newly interpreted with illustrations by Monica Vachula. Throughout, detailed oil paintings are framed against a textured backdrop, which looks like antique linen. Smaller inset illustrations (of the two lamps, or the "startled... pigeons") appear beneath each stanza. Paintings of New England livestock, and a closing portrait of Revere are especially well rendered. (Boyds Mills, $16.95 32p ages 8-up ISBN 1-56397-799-0; Mar.)

In this latest addition to a successful series, Poetry for Young People: William Butler Yeats, ed. by Jonathan Allison, illus. by Glenn Harrington, a well-researched biographical introduction precedes 26 of the poet's works, many of which reflect the mystery and beauty of Yeats's native Ireland. A dramatic painting of a rocky Sligo coast accompanies "The Meditation of the Old Fisherman," which, according to a note introducing the poem, recalls a conversation between a Sligo fisherman and the poet; his famous "The Second Coming" ("And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,/ Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born") inspires a chilling portrait of a monster/man crawling out of darkness, followed immediately by a gold-flecked landscape for "Sailing to Byzantium," against which a man holds closed his golden cape, like wings folded. (Sterling, $14.95 48p ages 10-up ISBN 0-8069-6615-7; Feb.)

Nikki Giovanni provides the foreword, adolescents from San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and the Bronx, the verse—in Paint Me Like I Am: Teen Poems from WritersCorps. "Why don't you paint me/ Like I am?" begins Delia Garcia's title poem. "Paint me happy,/ Laughing, running down a path of happiness/ Paint me with a smile on my face." An inspirational quote and a suggested tip or exercise ("Write as if you were in your favorite month or the month your birthday is in") introduce each of the volume's seven sections. (HarperTempest, $6.99 paper 192p ages 12-up ISBN 0-06-447264-7; Feb.)

Golden Hour

Random House launches Big Little Golden Books with a quartet of vintage titles in a new, larger trim size. First published in 1942, The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey, illus. by Gustaf Tenggren, stars a curious canine who just can't keep up with the pack. In Scuffy the Tugboat by Gertrude Crampton, illus. by Tibor Gergely, Scuffy sets out to see the world but soon decides to go back where he belongs—the bathtub. It's springtime in Margaret Wise Brown's Home for a Bunny (1956), illus. by Garth Williams, and a brown rabbit looks for a place to live. After interviewing other animals about their abodes ("I would fall out of a nest," he explains to the robin), he finally finds the right match. In The Fuzzy Duckling (1949), a counting book by Jane Werner Watson, illus. by Alice and Martin Provensen, a baby duck meets other animals including "two frisky colts," and "six lively lambs/ with thick soft fleece," but none will join him for a walk through the woods. (Random/Golden, $8.99 each 32p ages 2-5 ISBN 0-307-10328-5; -10547-4; -10546-6; -10325-0; Feb.)

Hip Hop Hooray

Rappers LL Cool J and Doug E. Fresh were the first to offer their wisdom. Now, Scholastic's HipKidHop series continues with platinum-selling recording artist Shaggy as he waxes poetic about his mother in Hope, illus. by Joseph Buckingham Jr. "I remember—wasn't so long ago.../ We had a one-room shack/ and the living was low," Shaggy begins, yet his mother cheered him on: "In order to achieve what you need,/ you can never give up, you can never give up." From songwriter Kevi, who contributed two songs to the multiplatinum Rugrats soundtrack, Don't Talk to Strangers, illus. by JibJab Media, puts a familiar warning in verse. A CD single accompanies each book. (Scholastic/Cartwheel, $13.95 each 32p ages 7-10 ISBN 0-439-38048-0; -31385-6; Feb.)

A Heartfelt Meow!

Hello Kitty searches for just-the-right gift for "her very special friend," Daniel in Hello Kitty, Hello Love by Roger La Borde and Rob Biddulph. Illustrated in pastel hues throughout and with glitter accents on the cover, the book includes four punch-out postcards so youngsters can share the love. (Abrams, $12.95 24p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-8109-8538-1; Feb.)