Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry

in Recommended Books

poetryCollected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters
Illustrated by Polly Dunbar
Candlewick, 2007

“How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do…”

The Swing, a classic poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, is one of many poems in this superb collection that captures a child’s “intense delight in daily experiences.”

This one by Lilian Moore shows a toddler’s delight in tasting different varieties of sweet berries.

“Hurry, Berry, Hurry!
Fatten in the sun.
Huckleberry, Gooseberry,
Juice berry…”

Full of word play, the rhymes are simple like Mother Goose and easy to chant.

Whether it’s flying up in a swing, eating berries, or building sand castles, Here’s a Little Poem is a perfect introduction to poetry for young children.

Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek gathered an anthology of a wide range of talented writers from Jack Prelutsky to Mary Ann Hoberman. Delightfully illustrated by Polly Dunbar, the children are carefree and happy. “The poems in this collection are such fun, full of jumping and tumbling children,” Dunbar said. “It was very exciting to illustrate such a variety; some are gentle and warm, others totally absurd!”

I recommend every family own at least one volume of poetry.

The entire family will love this book. Your children will probably chant, “Read it again, read it again!”

Some suggestions for reading poetry aloud:

  • Find a place to snuggle with your child in your lap
  • Read slowly
  • Change your voice. Swing it up and down, loud and soft

(Emphasize the rhythm)

  • P-a-u-s-e, especially at rhyming words
  • Pick a favorite verse, and march around the house, banging the beat with a kitchen pan and wooden spoon

“Expressive reading is reading that is remembered. And so it is with our own children. They’ll read with exactly the same expressive inflections as we do.”  —Mem Fox, Reading Magic

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