We’ve all learned that poetry doesn’t have to rhyme, but isn’t it ever so much more fantastic when it does? Move over, Billy Collins and Mary Oliver! Rhymes are ticklish fun, especially when they catch us off guard: witness the undying popularity of Deee-Lite’s Groove is in the Heart (on my supperdish, my succotash wish grooveshark, at any rate.) Or this beloved poem, which debuted at my son’s school’s poetry night this year: Myself, myself, myself/I love myself/I’m not an elf. Here’s another delightful and enduring poem. My big sister wrote in 1973: Baby baby is so cute, especially when she sleeps. When she sleeps/she makes sounds like peeps.
Just as we’re getting primed for school poetry assignments and extra devotion to verse, one of our favorite and silliest authors, Daniel Pinkwater, busts out with this paean to Edward Lear: His Shoes Were Far Too Tight. This book is a celebration of Lear’s nonsense poems, “masterminded by” Daniel Pinkwater and with crazy, colorful illustrations by Calef Brown. Since 1846 children have loved Lear’s poetry. (And I know the precise year thanks to Pinkwater’s effervescent, but still scholarly, introduction to the poems in this book.) Why do we so often hear Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat but not so much about The Duck and the Kangaroo (who would go to the Dee and the Jelly Bo Lee/Over the land and over the sea) or The Quangle Wangle’s Hat? I should mention also that this is a big, square book–a very pleasing shape for side-by-side sharing on a sofa.
For more inspiration, read Amy Hood’s poetry round up. Last April, we shared some family-favorite rhyme games and poetry books. Follow this link to 2010’s list. And please share your own favorites in the comments!
His Shoes Were Far Too Tight by Edward Lear Masterminded by Daniel Pinkwater, Illustrated by Calef Brown
2011 by Chronicle Books $17
Editor’s Note: Chronicle Books sent a review copy for our consideration. Kidoinfo never accepts payment for reviews.