On the belief that ""in some classic anthologies unrealistic views of a child's attention span prevail,"" and that ""great names matter less than graspable poems,"" the Kennedys have assembled a remarkably unassuming and accessible collection, presented without much commentary but arranged to illustrate various aspects of, or points about, poetry. First, then, we have examples of ""What Poems Do"": make you laugh, tell a story, send messages, share feelings, start you wondering. But the categories aren't cut-and-dried; there are few straight narrative poems in the ""story"" category, and in fact some in that section seem more like messages. Other sections, also filled without slavish conformity to categories, illustrate rhythm, likenesses, images, and word music, making the old pedagogical points in a freer way and without the old terminology. Finally, listed as ""special kinds of poetry,"" are groups of limericks, takeoffs, visual and found poems, and haiku; these are consistently light and frequently slight. Though this anthology too contains its share of great names (mostly modern) and first-class poems, it begins to seem slack by the end because of the general emphasis on amusement. Why not end with a few challenges? But some might prefer the Kennedys' honest amusements (""On Top of Spaghetti,"" for example) to the miniscule cute tricks that show up in Kherdian's collections of short, easy modern poetry. And the Kennedy emphasis on the play in poetry might help protect young readers against the grim presentation and dreary ""classics"" still common in the classroom.