Earlier this year, I purchased one of my favorite anthologies of children’s poetry — a Very Big Book called Here’s A Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry, collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters, illustrated by Polly Dunbar.
If you have a toddler or preschooler who needs a poetry book, this is the one to buy. It is a beautiful book in all the right ways, and it’s perfect for adults to share with kids.
And yes, it requires adult assistance — the front cover is 10-1/2" wide and nearly 12" tall, making it over 20" wide when open. And it weighs over two pounds, since it easily maxed out my little postal scale.
The book includes selections from famous poets like Jane Yolen (natch), Marily Singer, A.A. Milne, Nikki Grimes, Tony Mitton, Myra Cohn Livingston, Langston Hughes and more, plus poems from sone folks I hadn’t heard of before. There’s a short note near the front matter that reads as follows:
"Here’s A Little Poem gathers poems from various parts of the English-speaking world, including Great Britain, the Caribbean, Australia, and the U.S. Regional spellins and usage have been retained in order to preserve the integrity of the originals." This means, for example, that some poems say "Mum" instead of "Mom," as in "Mum Is Having a Baby" by Colin McNaughton:
Mum is having a baby!
I’m shocked! I’m all at sea!
What’s she want another one for:
WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH ME!?