Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Simple Rhymes Give Us Reason to Enjoy Children's Poetry

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Simple Rhymes Give Us Reason to Enjoy Children's Poetry

Article excerpt

Byline: Brandy Hilboldt, Times-Union staff writer

Talk to students about poetry, and their first reaction is usually a groan. What's with all the fancy wording, and why don't poets just say what they mean, children ask. Middle- and high-school students complain about symbolism and obtuse imagery. Pardon the phrase, but exactly when did poetry get such a bad rap? Lullabies and Mother Goose rhymes -- valid forms of poetry -- are comforting parts of everyday life for most babies and toddlers.

April is National Poetry Month, so library display areas and bookstore shelves are full of compilations. Now is the perfect time to find an introductory book of poetry. For instance, today's two selections address such subjects as peanut butter, snow and sand castles. These poems show children poetry isn't about flowery language and arcane subjects. It's about the beautiful or witty lilt of the right combination of words and the satisfying jolt of recognition that comes when reading about universal experiences.

-- Title: I'm Small and Other Verses

-- Author and illustrator: Lilian Moore/Jill McElmurry

-- Publisher: Candlewick Press

-- Price: $13.99

-- Ages: 3 and older

The common experiences described in this book include the fizzy ginger ale feeling that happens after an arm falls asleep and the cool texture of finger paint being spread on paper.

Finger paints are cool as mud,

Mud that's red or blue.

They squish and squash

And slide most any

Way I want them to.

I can squeeze a bump of green

Or swish it up and down

Or make it stop

right on top

Of a humpy hill of brown . . .

The great thing about this book is that children will identify with it, and that is a major factor in getting children to love reading. Children start to understand that books reflect life and are a source for planning new adventures in life, too. …

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