Posts tagged A.A. Milne

Turtle And Robot’s Book List for National Poetry Month

Book Lists are a brand new feature on Turtle and Robot. For my inaugural post I decided to focus on poetry, since April is National Poetry Month and, as far as “National Commemorative” months go, it gets a fair amount of attention. Libraries will likely be highlighting poets and poetry; educators all over the country will be writing curricula about and including poetry.

Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, A. A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, Rudyard Kipling, and Jack Prelutsky are all synonymous with children’s poetry. And there’s a good reason for that, they’re all wonderful (and I consider at least two of them to be geniuses). But the list I’ve compiled—fifty books about, containing or pertaining to poetry—was made to provide some alternatives to that ubiquitous bunch.

 

Poetry Collections

 

I’ll Be You and You Be MeIllBeYou

Ages 4 and up

By Ruth Krauss

Illustrated by Maurice Sendak

40 pages

HarperCollins

2001 (reprint)

 

This utterly delightful book should be a staple in any child’s library.

 

Once I Ate a PieOnceIAteaPie

Ages 4 and up

By Patricia MacLachlan

Illustrated by Emily MacLachlan Charest

40 pages

HarperCollins

2010

 

BookSpeak!: Poems About Booksbookspeak

Ages 4 and up

By Laura Purdie Salas 

Illustrated by Josee Bisaillon

32 pages

Clarion Books

2011

 

Dirty BeastsDirtyBeasts

Ages 4 and up

By Roald Dahl

Illustrated by Quentin Blake

32 pages

Puffin

2002 (reprint)

 

Revolting RhymesRevolting Rhymes

Ages 5 and up

By Roald Dahl

Illustrated by Quentin Blake

32 pages

Puffin

2009 (reprint)

 

Moon, Have You Met My MotherMoon

Ages 5 and up

By Karla Kuskin

Illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier

336 pages

HarperCollins

2003

 

Bananas in My EarsBananas-001

Ages 5 and up

By Michael Rosen

Illustrated by Quentin Blake

96 pages

Candlewick

2012

 

I Saw Esaui-saw-esau-001

Ages 5 and up

By Peter and Iona Opie

Illustrated by Maurice Sendak

160 pages

Candlewick

1992

 

Ogden Nash’s Zoo Zoo-001

Ages 5 and up

By Ogden Nash

Illustrated by Etienne Delessert

84 pages

Stewart, Tabori and Chang

1987

 

Classic Poetry: An Illustrated CollectionClassicPoetry-001

Ages 8 and up

Edited by Michael Rosen

Illustrated by Paul Howard

160 pages

Candlewick

2009 (reprint edition)

 

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices JoyfulNoise

Ages 8 and up

By Paul Fleischman 

Illustrated by Eric Beddows

44 pages

HarperCollins

2004

 

Poetry for Young People: Maya AngelouMayaAngelou

Ages 8 and up

Edited by Dr. Edwin Graves Wilson Ph.D.

Illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue

48 pages

Sterling Children’s Books

2013

 

This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and ForgivenessThisisJustToSay-001

Ages 8 and up

By Joyce Sidman

Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski

48 pages

HMH

2014

 

Poetry for Young People: Langston HughesLangstonHughes

Ages 8 and up

Edited by David Roessel and Arnold Rampersad

Illustrated by Benny Andrews

48 pages

Sterling Children’s Books

2013

 

God Got a DogGodGotaDog-001

Ages 10 and up

By Cynthia Rylant

Illustrated by Marla Frazee

48 pages

Beach Lane Books

2013

 

I absolutely love this book.

 

Telling a Story through a Poem, or This Whole Book is a Poem

 

Hurry, Hurry Mary DearHurryHurry

Ages 4 and up

By N.M. Bodecker

Illustrated by Erik Blegvad

32 pages

Margaret K. McElderry Books

1998

 

Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!SqueekRumbleWhomp

Ages 4 and up

By Wynton Marsalis 

Illustrated by Paul Rogers

40 pages

Candlewick

2012

 

I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery TailI SawaPeacock

Ages 7 and up

Illustrated by Ramsingh Urveti

56 pages

Tara Books

2012

 

The JumbliesTheJumblies-001

Ages 8 and up

By Edward Lear

Illustrated by Edward Gorey

48 pages

Pomegranate

2010 (reprint)

Edward Lear may still be a popular choice but it’s important to me that readers know about this Edward Gorey illustrated edition.

 

My Brother’s BookMyBrothersBook-001

Ages 10 and up

By Maurice Sendak

32 pages

HarperCollins

2013

 

This book—the last Sendak completed before his death in 2012— is an homage to his brother, whom he credits for his love of drawing.

 

Poetry with an Urban Flair

 

The Neighborhood Mother Gooseall content created for Nina Crews children's books no other usage allowed without permission.

Ages 4 and up

By Nina Crews

64 pages

Greenwillow

2003

 

Lively illustrations are incorporated into photographs of children in city settings.

 

Meet Danitra BrownMeetDanitraBrown

Ages 5 and up

By Nikki Grimes 

Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

32 pages

HarperCollins

1997

 

Harlem0-590-54340-7

Ages 6 and up

By Walter Dean Myers

Illustrated by Christopher Myers

32 pages

Scholastic Press

1997

Caldecott Honor Book

 

Hip Hop Speaks to ChildrenHipHopSpeaks

Ages 7 and up

By Nikki Giovanni

Illustrated by Michele Noiset, Jeremy Tugeau, Kristen Balouch, Damian Ward, Alicia Vergel de Dios

80 pages

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

2008

 

Here in Harlem: Poems in Many VoicesHereInHarlem-001

Ages 12 and up

By Walter Dean Myers

88 pages

Holiday House

2004

 

Other Poetic Forms

 

If It Rains Pancakes: Haiku and Lantern PoemsIfitRainsPancakes.jog-001

Ages 5 and up

by Brian P. Cleary 

Illustrated by Andy Rowland

32 pages

Millbrook

2014

 

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible VerseMirrorMirror-001

Ages 6 and up

By Marilyn Singer

Illustrated by Josee Masse

32 pages

Dutton

2010

 

A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete PoemsAPokeintheEye

Ages 6 and up

Edited by Paul B. Janeczko

Illustrated by Chris Raschka

48 pages

Candlewick

2005

 

A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic FormsAKickintheHead-001

Ages 8 and up

Compiled by Paul B. Janeczko 

Illustrated by Chris Raschka

64 pages

Candlewick

2009

 

Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single WordLemonade

Ages 8 and up

By Bob Raczka 

Illustrated by Nancy Doniger

48 pages

Square Fish

2013 (reprint)

 

Picture Books about Poets

 

EmilyEmily

Ages 4 and up

By Michael Bedard

Illustrated by Barbara Cooney

40 pages

Dragonfly

2002 (reprint)

 

The same artist who graced the world with Miss Rumphius gorgeously illustrates this fictionalized account of a young girl meeting Emily Dickinson.

 

A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced TravelersWilliamBlakesInn

Ages 5 and up

By Nancy Willard

Illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen

48 pages

HMH

1982

 

Walt Whitman: Words for America WaltWhitmanWordsforAmerica

Ages 7 and up

By Barbara Kerley 

Illustrated by Brian Selznick

56 pages

Scholastic

2004

 

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos WilliamsRiverofWords

Ages 7 and up

By Jen Bryant 

Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

32 pages

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

2008

 

The DreamerTheDreamer

Ages 10 and up

By Pam Muñoz Ryan

Illustrated by Peter Sís

400 pages

Scholastic

2012

 

Tools for Writing Poetry

 

Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book EverBestWordBook

Ages 3 and up

By Richard Scarry

70 pages

Golden Books

1999 (reprint)

 

A First ThesaurusFirstThesaurus-001

 

Ages 6 and up

By Harriet Wittels

128 pages

Golden Books

2001

 

Merriam-Webster’s Rhyming DictionaryRhymingDictionary

Ages 6 and up

224 pages

Federal Street Press

2011

 

 Words, Wit, and Wonder: Writing Your Own PoemWordsWitWonder

Ages 6 and up

By Nancy Loewen 

Illustrated by Christopher Lyles

32 pages

Picture Window Books

2009

 

Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry: How to Write a PoemPigsPizzaandPoetry

Ages 8 and up

By Jack Prelutsky

2008 pages

Greenwillow

2008

 

Though this book is by Jack Prelutsky (whom I said would not be included) is not a book of poetry but instead a very helpful guide to writing poetry.

 

Books about Words

 

13 Words13Words

Ages 4 and up

By Lemony Snicket 

Illustrated by Maira Kalman

40 pages

HarperCollins

2010

This was one of my favorite picture books of 2010. See Turtle And Robot’s review here.

 

Max’s Words MaxsWords

Ages 4 and up

By Kate Banks 

Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

32 pages

FSG

2006

 

Sparkle and Spin: A Book About WordsSparkleandSpin

Ages 4 and up

By Ann Rand and Paul Rand

40 pages

Chronicle

2006

Not the same author of The Fountainhead fame, she spells it Ayn.

 

The Boy Who Loved WordsBoyWhoLovedWords

Ages 4 and up

By Roni Schotter 

Illustrated by Giselle Potter

40 pages

Schwartz and Wade

2006

 

I Scream! Ice Cream!: A Book of WordlesIScreamIceScream

Ages 4 and up

By Amy Krouse Rosenthal 

Illustrated by Serge Bloch

40 pages

Chronicle

2013

 

Books That Include Poetry in their Stories

 

Frederick Frederick

Ages 3 and up

By Leo Lionni

32 pages

Dragonfly Books

1973

 

This is another book that should be a staple in every child’s library.

 

The Van Gogh CaféVan Gogh Cafe by Cynthia Rylant

Ages 6 and up

By Cynthia Rylant

64 pages

HMH

2006 (reprint)

 

In Chapter 3, “Lightening Strikes,” the cafe (whose only connection to Van Gogh is in the name) is struck by lightning and the food starts cooking itself. And it does so perfectly. Marc, the owner, doesn’t immediately notice because he has been spending every moment of his day writing poems; poems which, it’s soon realized, are accurately predicting the future.

See Turtle And Robot’s full review here.

 

Sam Samurai SamSamurai

The Time Warp Trio Series, Book #10

Ages 7 and up

By Jon Scieszka 

Illustrated by Adam McCauley

96 pages

Puffin

2004

 

Each book opens with a brief synopsis of the basis of the Time Warp Trio (three boys that, usually unwittingly, travel through time) so readers need not know other books in the series.

 

The Bat-PoetBatPoet

Ages 8 and up

By Randall Jarrell 

Illustrated by Maurice Sendak

48 pages

HarperCollins

1996

 

The HobbitTheHobbit

Ages 8 and up

By J.R.R. Tolkien

300 pages

HMH

2012 (reprint)

 

 

 

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My Book House, edited by Olive Beaupré Miller: a treasure trove of children’s literature.

My Book House

All Ages

Edited by Olive Beaupré Miller

DSC01796

12 Volume Set

Originally published 1920

The Book House for Children

Out of print

 

In the “About Me” section of this blog I mention how much I loved this series growing up. This may surprise readers, considering I obviously read and love books now, but there were not a lot of books in my home growing up, and I was not much of a reader. Loving to read didn’t really come until I was an adult. However, my family did have a complete set of the My Book House books and I loved them. In fact, we all loved them.

Olive Beaupré Miller was a fascinating woman and ahead of her time. Though there’s not a lot of material written about her, this biographical note contains some amazing highlights. A graduate of Smith College, she began writing rhymes and stories to entertain her young daughter (in addition to editing My Book House Miller also wrote many of the entries). After publishing three books, she founded The Book House for Children publishing company with her husband in 1919; in 1920 the first volume of My Book House (titled In the Nursery) was published.

My Book House was the first collection of children’s literature specifically arranged to meet the developing needs and abilities of children at different ages. Each entry had to meet the following three criteria (taken from Miller’s introduction):

“First, To be well equipped for life, to have ideas and the ability to express them, the child needs a broad background of familiarity with the best in literature.

Second, His stories and rhymes must be selected with care that he may absorb no distorted view of life and its actual values, but may grow up to be mentally clear about values and emotionally impelled to seek what is truly desirable and worthwhile in human living.

Third, The stories and rhymes selected must be graded to the child’s understanding at different periods of his growth, graded as to vocabulary, as to subject matter and as to complexity of structure and plot.”

And these books still fulfill that mission today. While some stories are admittedly dated—at the very least, some characters of color should be included in the art—most of the material is still worthy of attention and much of the material is still important to current American and European culture.

The first set of My Book House books consisted of six black, cloth-covered books that were published between 1920 and 1922. Later the black cloth was changed to green and three storybooks were added—Tales Told in Holland, Little Pictures of Japan, and Nursery Friends from France. Occasionally these sets can be found inside a custom wooden house that was created for promotional purposes in the mid-1930s. We had one such set for sale while I was working at Books of Wonder and it was beautiful.

Around 1930 the six-volume set was expanded to twelve. The content was mostly unchanged (some tales from the three storybooks were incorporated) and the concept remained the same: the books were meant to “grow” with the children with early volumes containing nursery rhymes and simple stories and later volumes containing Chaucer and Shakespeare. There were updated versions in 1937 and again in 1971 (in later printings at least two stories, Little Black Sambo and The Tar Baby, were replaced with less racist material). The whole set went out of print in the early 70s.

There were different cover designs over the years; the set that I grew up with—which my mother purchased from a door-to-door salesman—consisted of twelve books and was printed in the 1950s. The first book in the series was covered in light green cloth, the last in light blue; the color of the books in between ranged between the two hues, like a rainbow of greens & blues. Each volume had a gorgeously illustrated color-plate affixed to the front cover; Volume 9’s cover art is by N. C. Wyeth.

All twelve volumes are beautifully illustrated throughout with color and black and white art. The wide variety of artists includes Milo Winter (famous for his art in Aesop’s Fables for Children), Maud and Miska Petersham (1946 Caldecott Medal winners), Palmer Cox (creator of The Brownies), Johnny Gruelle (creator of Raggedy Anne and Andy), Garth Williams (illustrator of many books including Charlotte’s Web), W.W. Denslow (illustrator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) and many other important and recognizable names.

The highly varied literary material is of the highest caliber. Authors include Rudyard Kipling (author of The Jungle Book), Louisa May Alcott (author of Little Women), the English poets Robert Browning, William Wordsworth and William Blake, Lewis Carroll (author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), Robert Lewis Stevenson (author of Treasure Island), and countless others.

 

Vol1Volume 1, In the Nursery, is heavily illustrated with art on every page and begins with Mother Goose and English nursery rhymes. It moves on to poems and rhymes from around the world, and ends with what are referred to as “experience stories,” which are basically simple tales of everyday life. For instance, a story titled “What the Children Do in Summer” by Pearl S. Buck, outlines how five different children like to spend their summer days.

 

Vol2Volume 2, Story Time, is also heavily illustrated but slightly less so than Volume 1; this volume tends to have only one or two pieces of art per page. It begins with short, repetitive and rhythmic stories and moves onto slightly longer, and highly recognizable stories such as Beatrix Potter’s “A Tale of Peter Rabbit,” Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling” and Fables by Aesop.

It was this volume that contained “Little Black Sambo,” (the stand-alone book is actually titled The Story of Little Black Sambo) which was later replaced; the set I own contains this story. Interestingly, the illustrations feature distinctly Indian characters as opposed to Bannerman’s own art featured in the stand-alone book, which was stereotypical of the time, and racist.

 

Vol3Volume 3, Up One Pair of Stairs, introduces readers to simple fairy tales, more complex poetry and ends with an excerpt from Charles Kingsley’s “Water Babies.” I remember this last story making a strong impression on me as a child and I read it again and again.

This volume is also heavily illustrated and we begin to see art by some of the most influential illustrators for children: Kate Greenaway, Randolph Caldecott and Walter Crane.

 

Vol4Volume 4, Through the Gate, contains more fairy tales, including “Cinderella” and “Snow White and Rose Red,” and popular American folktales, such as “Pecos Bill” and “Old Johnny Appleseed.” This volume is still heavily illustrated but the art becomes sparser, befitting of material for this age group, with occasional spreads featuring only text.

 

 

Vol5Volume 5, Over The Hills, continues with folktales but also includes stories of important inventions (for example, the use of steam in trains and boats) and highlights of American history and historical figures, as well as excerpts from “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White and “Winnie-the-Pooh” by A.A. Milne.

 

 

 

Vol6Volume 6, Through Fairy Halls, is best described by Miller herself:

“[These stories] relate music, art and science to literature in the period when boys and girls are of an age to wander freely in any sort of Wonderland.”

One of the most interesting entries may be “The Fairyland of Science,” which is a story of Jean-Henri Fabre whom is considered to be the father of modern entomology.

 

Vol7Volume 7, The Magic Garden, contains more complex folktales and fairy tales and includes the first known “Cinderella” story, an Egyptian tale titled “Rhodopis and Her Gilded Sandals.” As discussed in my review of Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version, every culture has its own collection of tales passed from generation to generation and many tales have sister stories in other cultures—Cinderella is one such story.

This book also includes a poem by Edgar Allen Poe, and excerpts of works by William Shakespeare and Nathaniel Hawthorne. By this volume art appears every few pages; this frequency of illustrations remains the same through the rest of the series.

 

Vol8Volume 8, Flying Sails, turns from fairy tales to stories of adventure, both real—“The Adventures of General Tom Thumb” by Phineas T. Barnham, and imagined—“Gulliver’s Travels to Lilliput” by Jonathan Swift.

 

 

 

 

Vol9Volume 9, The Treasure Chest, is more of the same kind of stories that appeared in Volume 8. Among other true stories in this book, we have “Exploring the Wilderness,” the story of Daniel Boone and “The Adventures of Alexander Selkirk,” the shipwrecked sailor whose story inspired Daniel Dafoe’s Robinson Crusoe.

Included with other fictional stories are two Greek myths, two Norse myths, a story from the bible and “Hiawatha’s Fasting” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

 

Vol10Volume 10, From the Tower Window, is comprised of heroic and romantic adventures taken from Russian, French, Spanish or Roman epics, as well as stories about Joan of Arc, Robert Bruce, and The Children’s Crusade.

 

 

 

Vol11Volume 11, In Shining Armor, continues the themes of Volume 10 with bits from German and Yugoslavian epics, along with Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, a story of Robert E. Lee, and a tale of Old New York by Washington Irving titled “Wolfert Webber, or Golden Dreams.”

 

 

 

Vol12Volume 12, Halls of Fame, concludes the series with stories about the lives of thirty-five (primarily American or English) authors. It also includes “The Story of Faust,” “An Interesting History of Old Mother Goose,” and “The World’s Greatest Epics.”

 

 

 

Each volume contains a preface (explaining how to best use that particular volume), and footnotes (though not interesting to a small child, they may be of great interest to older children and adult readers). Volume 1 also contains a forward that explains Miller’s reasons for creating such a set of books and Volume 12 contains three different indexes—“Authors, Titles and Leading Characters,” “Special Subjects” and “Character Building: A Guide for parents.”

My Book House is an encyclopedia of important writing from beginning to end. Miller says this in her preface to Volume 12:

“From the first volume of My BOOK HOUSE through this last one, a real attempt has been made to give the child a large acquaintance with the best in literature, presented to him in understandable form for his age at a given period, and we have constantly progressed with him as he grows until in “Halls of Fame” he is ready for this glimpse of literature as a whole.”

And I must say, Ms. Miller could not have been more right, for, while books did not surround me as a child, I had this gold mine at my fingertips. Long after I had “outgrown” the series I would still return to it to peruse the art or reread favorite stories. Having looked carefully through each volume while writing this post I realized how much of my literary knowledge (prior to my bookstore years) came from these twelve volumes. My Book House laid the foundation for what eventually became my passion for books and my love of reading.

 

Find used copies on Amazon.

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