Music to Engage Kids Physically and Mentally Great children's music should make kids want to dance and sing while also empowering them with witty lyrics and insightful messages. These brand new CDs showcase richly textured rock-n-roll with feel-good themes and inspirational, worldly-yet-fun …Read more. A New Breed of Empowering Fairy and Princess Tales These new picture books offer young princesses and fairies who take charge with lots of strength and sweet spunk. "Princess April Morning-Glory" by Letitia Fairbanks; Sandramantos Publishing; 60 pages; $7.09. A genuine lost treasure from …Read more. Teacher Gifts to Show Appreciation These books, and a set of Magic Tree House tales on DVD, make fantastic teacher, librarian or school friend gifts that the whole class can enjoy. "Rocket Writes a Story" by Tad Hill; Schwarz & Wade; 32 pages; $17.99. Teachers often …Read more. April Is Poetry Month Poetry Month is April. But rhyming words should be enjoyed every day. These new books full of poems and wordplay for children are classically and uniquely appealing. Imaginations and whimsical fun abound. "Stardines Swim High Across the Sky: …Read more.more articles
Keep Kids Entertained with Wacky and Unique Poetry Books
April showers bring reigning poetry to classrooms and bookstores. These new kid-friendly collections of poems are enlightening and fun.
"Orangutan Tongs" by Jon Agee; Disney/Hyperion; 48 pages; $16.99.
Kids have a blast with tongue twisters, and this tangling collection will certainly tie their tasters in knots. Author/illustrator Agee loves to play with words, as shown in his witty "Smart Feller, Fart Smeller," "Go Hang a Salami!" and more alliteration tales.
Here, brief ditties called "Cranky Oyster," "Purple-Paper People," "Overeager Ogre," "Knapsack Straps" and other equally innovative reads entice youngsters to try again to master them. Attempt this: "It's a pity pretty Patty Petty parted ways with Pete. He was picky, partly portly, but particularly sweet. They were such a pleasant couple as they pedaled down the street. It's a pity pretty Patty Petty parted ways with Pete."
Other zippy lines include difficult-to-utter phrases such as: "mixed biscuits," "Willie's wacky wheelies," "a dodo'll dawdle, a dodo'll diddle," and lots more fun.
"The Underwear Salesman" by J. Patrick Lewis; illustrations by Serge Bloch; Atheneum/Simon & Schuster; 58 pages; $16.99.
Elementary-school students love pondering their future careers. Do you wonder what they think about becoming a butcher? Lewis' ode to that job goes something like, "I'm a guy named Sloppy Joe/ In my prime/ Rib (as you know). My eye is round/ My butt is lean/ I operate a guillotine." My favorite is the shortest that describes the exterminator, with "I come to debug/ What's under the rug."
Downright hilarious and creative, Lewis' tributes to elevator operators, highway line painters, crossword puzzle makers and fashion designers galore are a hoot. Bloch's sometimes collage and mixed media, always retro and fresh, illustrations are as fabulous as the entertaining poems.
"City I Love" by Lee Bennett Hopkins; illustrated by Marcellus Hall; Abrams Books for Young Readers; 32 pages; $16.95.
City kids and aspiring world travelers will enjoy this urban-themed adventure that celebrates the excitement, beauty and energy of city life.
Zippy poems and newcomer Hall's modern illustrations make "City I Love" a gem full of read-aloud fun.
"Food Hates You, Too ... and Other Poems" by Robert Weinstock; Disney/Hyperion; 26 pages; $15.99.
What child doesn't enjoy making fun of food? Weinstock knows that, firing back with "Food Hates You, Too," which should send young diners screeching with laughter. The title poem wonders: "If doughnuts hid from Dominic/ If Fern made cookies faint/ If Charles made chewy candy sick, And Pearl left pudding pained," and "If cotton candy, apple pie, and french fries looked at you/ And said, 'Gross! Blecchh! Nope, I won't try. I'll never like it. Ew!'" then maybe kids would give hated foods a try.
Other poems star a boy who repeats and repeats what he eats, "and eats beets with his beets with his beets," plus sonnets to cheese, recipes, pudding and jam. Wacky illustrations add oomph to the poems.
"Poetry Zoo" or "Zoologico de Poemas" by Margarita Montalvo; Scholastic en Espanol; 48 pages; $4.99.
Montalvo's smart bilingual collection of poetic fables was originally written in Spanish and translated into English by the author. Motivated by education, Montalvo offers fun poems that teach valuable lessons of compassion, tolerance, forgiveness and responsibility, many starring animals.
In one, a bird named Flaminga considers herself ugly because of her skinny legs, while a tadpole longs to be a toad, and a whale lulls her baby to sleep. Each page spread features the poem in Spanish and in English, making "Poetry Zoo" a smart choice for bilingual classrooms.
Montalvo's colorful illustrations beckon back to an era of magic and fantasy. And glossaries in both languages, plus a section for teachers and parents, have been included.
To find out more about Lee Littlewood and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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