One of the most well-thumbed books in our house these days is one I never would have guessed would entertain my kids so well even when I bought the book a few weeks ago.
Seeing the illustration of the little girl dressed up as a bumblebee inspired my daughter to go find her bee antenna.
"Poetry Speaks to Children" and its accompanying CD has become a favorite request at our kitchen table for one simple reason. My kids (ages two and four) love listening to the various forms of storytelling on the CD. With 34 poets reading their work, there are plenty of different voices and stories to catch my kids' interest.
My kids are always most receptive to sitting still while it's still early in the morning.
I first bought the book at a thrift store for five dollars, which I considered a bargain since the book and CD looked brand new. I figured I might end up listening to it by myself since most days I can barely get my kids to sit still long enough to finish a meal.
But I have found that if I bring poetry out of the books, my kids will sit and listen, at least for a few minutes and sometimes even longer. Some of you may remember how my kids and I packed our "poetry in a suitcase" last spring, an idea we got from children's author Janet S. Wong (who I interviewed here and who reads a poem in "Poetry Speaks to Children.")
Our poetry suitcase, which we decoupaged on the outside with my kids' artwork and on the inside with Eric Carle artwork from ads for the Los Angeles Times Book Festival.
We continue to take out our suitcase every once in a while but, frankly, we were ready for a fresh approach to our poetry reading, especially since my kids are so young and are always interested in the newest toy in the house.
My kids, "reading" the poetry book together
"Poetry Speaks to Children" is an entertaining read with wonderful illustrations and the CD makes the words come alive as each poet's voice fills our home with a wide range of poetry, everything from Maxine Kumin's "Sneeze" to "My Sister Saw a Dinosaur" by children's poet laureate Mary Ann Hoberman to "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost.
You can imagine my surprise one recent morning when, still wiping the sleep from my eyes, my son ran up to me with poetry book in hand and said, "I want to listen to this, mama!"
"Huh?" was my less-than-eloquent answer as I realized that drinking coffee was going to have to wait a few minutes that morning. "OK."
Who would've known that my kids would one day be more enthusiastic about poetry than I?
3 weeks ago