Pages: 147 pages + indexes
Finished: July 16, 2010
First Published: 1973
Publisher: Hubbard Press
Genre: children, poetry
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Acquired: Bought a copy at a book/thrift/garage sale.
Reason for Reading: Every Mon - Fri I read my son a two page spread of poetry. This book in particular has great sentimental value to me as I had it as a child and literally read it almost daily for years.
A wonderful, unique, solid collection of poems, not the usual variety found in children's collections. The majority of the poems are by the literary greats such as Tennyson, Dickinson, Coleridge, Stevenson, Poe, Longfellow, Whitman, Wordsworth and Yeats. Then there is a large number by well known children's poets such as Christina Rossetti, Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Ogden Nash and Dorothy Parker. Plus a large number of poets I've never even heard of (which isn't saying much). Every type of poem is included here: Lear's limericks, short one stanzas consisting of 2 or 4 lines, romantic poems, silly poems, story poems and epic poems.
The illustrations are pure seventies. Bold, brash and bright, they cover every page and catch the child's attention whether they understand the words of the poem or not. The first two page spread is of "The Eagle" by Tennyson. Now I can't say this does anything for me in particular but as a child I loved this page, this poem. I read it over and over until I had it memorized and would randomly recite it whenever. Both pages are pure illustration, with the poem in a white bubble in the corner. I had no clue what "azure" meant or really what the poem was exactly about except that that eagle in the picture was going to soar down towards the water. One thing I love about the illustrations is that instead of just colouring in the shapes they are all filled in and decorated with designs, patterns and swirls. There is a groovy turtle drawn for Vachel Lindsay's "The Little Turtle"
I'm not a big lover of poetry but I love certain poems and my son seems to be following in the same vein. He zones out during the love poems or the "oh how wonderful is a daffodil" poems no matter how well I read them. He loves silly poems and poems about unusual topics such as bats or manhole covers. He also enjoys the story poems such as "Little Orphant Annie" or "The Raggedy Man" but the epic poems are usually over his head such as "Barbara Frietchie" and "The Destruction of Sennacherib" but he loves "Paul Revere's Ride" and maybe not so epic but certainly long Poe's "The Raven".
This is a great collection that will grow with your child and is worth looking for if you can appreciate the illustration. The book is oversized, sturdy, and well-bound to last a life-time. I do not intend on ever giving up this copy. It's a keeper!