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I’ve Lost My Hippopotamus
by Jack Prelutsky
illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic
Jack Prelutsky, the inaugural Children’s Poet Laureate, continues to delight children with his poems. Filled with more than 100 poems, I’ve Lost My Hippopotamus includes such silliness as
MY FRIEND PETE
Though I’m impressed with my friend Pete,
Who plays the cello with his feet,
I am dazzled by his sister Rose –
She plays the tuba with her nose.
National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar!
compiled by J. Patrick Lewis
National Geographic Children’s Books
J. Patrick Lewis, current Children’s Poet Laureate, has compiled a must-have collection of 200 animal poems “With favorites from Robert Frost, Jack Prelutsky, Emily Dickinson and more.” Every page in this coffee table-sized book has stunning National Geographic photography and one or more poems about the featured animal. Browse this beautiful book, or search by title, poet, first line, or subject in the indices. Resources also include tips for writing different forms of poetry, and a bibliography of a variety of children’s poetry books organized by poetry form.
Forgive Me, I Meant To Do It: False Apology Poems
by Gail Carson Levine
illustrated by Matthew Cordell
William Carlos Williams’ poem “This is Just to Say” was the inspiration for this collection of false apology poems. Many of the poems reference Mother Goose rhymes or fairy tale characters with kid-sized literary allusions, but others simply channel childhood sibling rivalry:
THIS IS JUST TO SAY
While you were buying
I sanded off
your Barbie’s face
patted and praised
The poems are smart and punny – a ready-set-go mentor text that invites readers to try a false apology of their own!
UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings
by Douglas Florian
Beach Lane Books
Douglas Florian pairs poems featuring his trademark rhyming wordplay with paragraphs of information about honeybees (and whimsical paintings) in an collection that entertains and educates in equal measures. From a welcome to the hive through a wondering about the demise of honeybees, Florian gives readers a complete tour of a honeybee’s world.
Step Gently Out
by Helen Frost
illustrated by Rick Lieder
This picturebook-length poem, dazzlingly illustrated by Rick Lieder’s photographs of insects, encourages the reader to “Step gently out, / be still, / and watch / a single glade / of grass.” Guided by Helen Frost’s words, we are still, we look, we listen, and we remember to appreciate all of the creatures that share the world.
October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard
by Lesléa Newman
Matthew Shepard was a gay twenty-one-year-old University of Wyoming student who was savagely beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die on October 6, 1998. This cycle of sixty-eight poems (for readers in middle school and up) explores the events of that October night from a variety of points of view — the fence, the killers, Matthew Shepard’s mother, the truck, the road, the moon, the deer who was found lying near Matthew when the sheriff arrived at the scene, and more. Each poem includes an epigraph, which is explained with notes at the end of the book. Also included are an explanation of the variety of poetic forms used, and a variety of resources for deeper understanding of Matthew Shepard’s story, plus LGBTQ and human rights issues. This is not an easy book to read, but it is an important story told with compassion and honesty.
Mary Lee Hahn teaches 5th grade Language Arts in Dublin, Ohio. When it comes to poetry, she really earns her Nerdy Book Club wings: she has a collection of US Poet Laureate and Children’s Poet Laureate signatures.
You can find her blogging at http://readingyear.blogspot.com and on Twitter as @MaryLeeHahn.