Poetry is expressive in a way that short stories and novels aren't. But how do you get your child to enjoy and understand poetry? One thing is for sure: a child can't enjoy what he hasn't been exposed to. Expose your young child to the world of poetry through some of these books of poetry. They are not only funny and clever, they can also help your child understand how poetry works.
There are actually four different "kids pick" poety books. They are pretty silly and some are rather clever, and some have a meaningful message. Here are a couple stanzas from the poem "I'm Glad I'm Me""
I don't understand why everyone stares
When I take off my clothes and dance down the stairs
Or when I stick carrots in both my ears,
Then dye my hair green and go shopping at Sears ...
Why can't folks accept me the way that I am?
So what if I'm different and don't act like them?
I'm not going to change and be someone I'm not.
I like who I am, and I'm all that I've got!
These books provide a fun introduction to poetry, especially for very young children who love to be silly.
For ages 6 and up.
This book is a collection of over 90 poems by some of our favorite authors including Roald Dahl, J. R. R. Tolkien, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ogden Nash, John Ciardi, and Langston Hughes to name just a few. The poems are those that children ages 6 and up will enjoy, but what will help them enjoy these poems even more is the CD that comes with this book. Children hear fifty of the poems being read, which can help them better appreciate the rhyme and rhythm of poetry. Many of the poems are read by the authors themselves, do children can hear them just as the author intended them to be read!
The title of this book should give you an idea of the kinds of poems found in this book. They are clever and amusing and really fun to read. Here's one of the poems from the book:
My underdog is overweight,
he has an underbite,
he tends to tunnel underground
and stay there overnight.
That overactive underdog
is often hard to bear...
he overate my overcoat
and all my underwear.
Children are sure to enjoy reading these poems. They are sure to make them giggle.
For Ages 5 and up
One way to deal with fears is to laugh at them. If your child is a little worried about monsters and things that go bump in the night, this is the perfect poetry book. In one poem, poor Frankenstein wanted to make a sandwich, but didn't have bread, meat, cheese or mustard. So he thought he'd see if he could borrow something from his neighbors, but they just chased him off with torches and pitchforks. But they also threw all kinds of food at him so he had more than enough for a sandwich. At first he thought the neighbors were just rude, but then he thanked them for the food! Half of the fun, of course, is the poetic structure of the stories, with their rhyme and rhythm. For ages 7 and up.
This book is quite unique. It is full of poems that are essentially the musings of an 11-year-old boy. What does he muse about? Pretty much what any boy around that age would muse about: why he messed up in basketball, how he'd like a new pet, and how boring homework is. But like many boys that age, he also enjoys being gross (as in the poem "The Autobiography of Murray the Fart"). It's not just the poetry that make this book a good one. The poems are often presented in quite clever shapes. For kids ages 10 and up.
This is one of several books by Shel Silverstein. The very youngest of children (and oldest of adults) enjoy Silverstein's poems. They are simple, but witty. Here's one about a homemade boat:
This boat that we just built is fine--
And don't try to tell us that it's not.
The sides and the back are divine--
It's the bottom I guess we forgot.
If your child is too young to read yet, he or she will still love to hear you read these poems out loud.
This book of poems by Shel Silverstein is just wonderful for every child, but especially those who delight in language. As the title suggests, the book switches the intitial sounds of two words. Here's a little sample of what you can expect. It's a ferry vun rook to bead!
So if you say, "Let's bead a rook
That's billy as can se,"
You're talkin' Runny Babbit talk,
Just like mim and he.
If your child is interested in poetry and language, this is really a must-have book. The poetry is full of very clever word play. Take the title poem, for example:
Abie's seedy effigy
Eight chide jake: a lemon
You are as tea...
What? That makes no sense! Yes, it does -- try reading it out loud. You might need to read it more than once, but every English-speaking youngster will recognize a very familiar song. In addition to the poems, the book makes use of fun footnotes that explain terms and poetic devices (like eye rhymes). It's a fun book to read that also helps children understand poetry. Pretty much everyone, from young children who will enjoy reading or listening to the stories, to older children (even adults), who will not only enjoy the poetry but also learn about it, will want this book!
Perhaps your youngsters wants to do more than read poetry. Perhaps he or she would like to write it! If so, then this book is a good one. It includes simple tips for creating different types of poetry and verse, from haiku to concrete poetry and more. It has a glossary of "poet's tools," which helps readers understand the principles behind poetry writing (poetic license, pun, irony, etc.). One of the hardest things for some budding poets to do is come up with a topic to write about. This book helps with that, too. It includes ten "poem starters," which are the first two and a half lines of a poem. It's not a dull textbook style book, though. It is amusing and clever. A child just needs to open it up. He or she will be hooked after that. For ages 7 and up