As Prelutsky notes in the brief introduction, this hefty collection of 572 poems consists mainly of the work of modern...

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THE RANDOM HOUSE BOOK OF POETRY FOR CHILDREN

As Prelutsky notes in the brief introduction, this hefty collection of 572 poems consists mainly of the work of modern ""children's poets""--Myra Cohn Livingston, Shel Silverstein, Lilian Moore, Karla Kuskin, E. V. Rieu, Prelutsky himself (the largest selection by far)--with sizable representation of such forerunners as Christina Rossetti, Rachel Field, and Ogden Nash. It comprises mostly light, humorous verse, arranged in broad subject-categories (nature-in-general, seasons, everyday and out-of-the-way animals, the city, etc.), and it's intended for elementary-school children (not preschoolers). For maximum utility, there are indexes of titles, authors, and smaller, selected subjects (Birds; Body, parts of; Boredom). As Prelutsky also observes, so large a collection of child-wise verse (""relevant, understandable, and thoroughly enjoyable""), drawn two-thirds from the work of ""the past four decades,"" reflects a great deal of activity, whether or not ""a renaissance in children's poetry."" This is mostly simple, sing-song verse, and some of it is pretty trite: ""City, city/ Wrong and bad,/ Looms above me/ When I'm sad""; or (from ""Cockpit in the Clouds"")--""Two thousand feet beneath our wheels,/ The city sprawls across the land/ Like heaps of children's blocks outflung,/ Intantrums, by a giant's hand."" En masse, it tends to be monotonous--mundane. A good deal, too, is on the kindergarten/first-grade level: the sort of thing children graduate to from Mother Goose. But within its compass, the selection is resourceful--embracing Maurice Sendak's ""In October/ I'll be host. . ."" and Richard Wilbur's ""What is the opposite of two? A lonely me and a lonely you."" The nonsense verse and scarey stuff, in particular, is more grown-up and interesting as poetry. The Lobel vignettes on every page--in color or monochrome--give the book a perky look. And, like the old Brewton collections, this will serve handily in classrooms. For an individual child, it's too much of too little.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1983

ISBN: 0394950100

Page Count: -

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1983

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