Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tomes for Tots

Lately I've been thinking about adding poetry to our read-alouds. We've already been through that wonderful collection of Mother Goose nursery rhymes illustrated by Rosemary Wells, but I didn't think my children were ready for any of my poetry anthologies from college, either. Although Shel Silverstein is often touted as a poet who grabs young readers' attention, I'm not a big fan. I wanted a collection of poems that captured the innocence of youth, had imagery that would capture the imagination of preschoolers and contained meter and rhyme scheme that would expose Emily Anne and Will to the wonders of poetry.

Enter A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, recommended in several sources, including . These poems, first written in 1885 by the author of Treasure Island, are relatively short, most short enough to hold the attention of a four-year-old and two-year-old. The poems are charmingly old-fashioned but contain the never outmoded joy of imagination.
Honey for a Child's Heart
We have had great weather lately and have enjoyed the spring-like temperatures on our screened porch, which is an idyllic setting for poetry reading. After about four poems, it was idyllic no more, as my children began to get restless. Becoming attuned to the nuances of poetry, though, is not an instant process, and reading even just a few poems once every week or two will help them to develop an ear for the magic of language.

Here were some of our favorite poems. Emily Anne's favorite was "The Land of Counterpane" because she recognized it from a Little Bear episode. "Bed in Summer" was certainly one poem with which they could identify, and I, too, can remember feeling the injustice of having to try to go to sleep while it is still light outside. "Block City" inpsired a request to get out the wooden blocks and to see what kind of a village we could construct. We also liked "The Land of Storybooks," and I find myself in the midst of this glorious weather wishing for winter so that we could read "Picture Books in Winter" by a cozy fire.

Happy Reading!


Renae said...

My little girls loved our Rosemary Wells Mother Goose Rhymes to pieces. It is held together by lots of tape. Delightful! And I found A Child's Garden of Verses illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith, one of my favorite artists.

Peace to you,
Life Nurturing Education

JamieLee said...

We LOVE "A Child's Garden of Verses" and we also really enjoyed AA Milne this year, among others.