Where we are is very far from every star
Posted on 04 April 2009
Weekly Geeks on finding our inner poet and our inner child.
April 2nd was International Children’s Book Day. And April is National Poetry Month. In celebration, we have been given two options to do this week. The first option is to be a kid and read picture books and share them here, or post about favourite ones from childhood, or post about reading with our children. The second option is to be a poet, to write and share our own poem, or write bookish ABC poems, or review a book in haiku, or participate in Poetry Friday. I’m combining both and tackling children’s poetry today.
Going down my childhood memory lane, one of my favourite books was a thick collection of children’s poetry by various writers. I don’t remember many of the poets I enjoyed, but a few stick out in my mind, like Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks. As a child, poetry held such magic. And I still perfectly remember and memorize my three favourite poems then: Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll, The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear, and Wynken, Blynken and Nod by Eugene Field.
It was only in my teens that I discovered Shel Silverstein, but not his poetry just yet. I loved his books, The Giving Tree and The Missing Piece. Later on, as I became a mother, I bought his poetry books for my children: Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and Falling Up. My second son especially loves Silverstein’s poems for their silliness. He sometimes spends hours reading them and just laughing his heart out.
The other two poets I introduced to my children were A. A. Milne (When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six) and Karla Kuskin (Moon, Have You Met My Mother?). Although, I admit, while the kids love for me to read their poems out loud, I’m the one getting the most enjoyment out of them. One of the more contemporary ones I like is Stephen Mitchell, who wrote this beautiful book, The Wishing Bone and Other Poems. The illustrations are great, too.
And that is another thing about children’s poetry books: the artwork is always beautiful. Can you imagine Silverstein’s poetry without his scraggly-haired people? Or Milne’s work without E. H. Shepard’s dainty renderings of Christopher Robin?
Finally, completing the list is the ultimate zany poet himself, the one and only Dr. Seuss. I love him, the dear. Loved him since I was a little girl. I know most of his books by heart. And I’m so happy that my children love him, too. Oh they do. Have you noticed, but each of his books is really one long poem?
And what would this post be without any poems shared? So I’ll leave you with a few.
The Waiting Place. . .
Knights and Ladies
~A. A. Milne, When We Were Very Young
~Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends