The Daily Bulletin
From Nancy Gilson, our Columbus Dispatch colleague and children’s book expert, comes a suggestion for a great new poetry collection that even has Central Ohio roots. Read on to find out more….
National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry (185 pages, $24.95, all ages), edited by J. Patrick Lewis
Central Ohio’s J. Patrick Lewis, the nation’s children’s poet laureate, has put together a big, beautiful book of poetry that combines works by favorite writers with impressive photographs — all about animals.
National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry contains 200 brief poems — sharp and economical as all good poetry should be — juxtaposed with large color photographs of fierce, funny or fantastical members of the animal kingdom.
After the introductory section of poems about birth — titled “Welcome to the World” and including Jack Prelutsky’s The Egg and David McCord’s Cocoon, among others — the collection divides works into categories of critters including “The Little Ones,” “The Big Ones,” “The Winged Ones” and “The Strange Ones.”
As Lewis says in his introduction, this is a book to be sampled at random. And, it doesn’t hurt to read the poems aloud.
Favorite children’s poets are here, too: Douglas Florian, Myra Cohn Livingston, Prelutsky, (Columbus’s) Michael J. Rosen, Christina Rossetti, Jane Yolen — and Lewis.
As a sample of the collection’s range and appeal, consider these two entries:
Carl Sandburg’s Splinter:
The voice of the last cricket/across the first frost/is one kind of good-bye./It is so thin a splinter of singing.
The poem is paired with a larger-than-life portrait of the insect captured on a lush, green leaf.
And, Ogden Nash’s The Eel:
I don’t mind eels/Excepts as meals/And the way they feels, placed beside a photo of two of the squirmy things.
Accessible, entertaining and just plain gorgeous, the book is a fine addition to a child’s library.