The Barefoot book of classic poems

Book - 2006

The paintbox / E. V. Rieu -- Spell of creation / Kathleen Raine -- The beautfiul / W. H. Davies -- Morning song / Sylvia Plath -- New child / George Mackay Brown -- The twins / Henry S. Leigh -- maggie and milly and molly and may / E. E. Cummings -- Bad in summer ; The land of counterpane / Robert Louis Stevenson -- A boy's song / James Hogg -- A spell for sleeping / Alastair Reid -- Annabel Lee / Edgar Allan Poe -- Dorothy dances / Louis Untermeyer -- The stolen child ; He wishes for the cloths of heaven / W. B. Yeats -- The wild trees / Laurie Lee -- Tartary / Walter de la Mare -- Cats / Eleanor Farjeon -- Furry bear / A. A. Milne -- The man in the wilderness / Anonymous --

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Children's Room Show me where

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room j808.81/Barefoot Due May 5, 2024
Cambridge, MA : Barefoot Books 2006.
Other Authors
Jackie Morris (-)
Physical Description
128 p. : col. ill. ; 29 cm
Includes indexes.
Contents unavailable.
Review by New York Times Review

IF babies get an edge in math by listening to Mozart, might poetry - Mother Goose, Shakespeare's sonnets, Emily Dickinson -tune young ears to the music of language? Here are four collections - two anthologies, two by individual poets - to take children from their earliest delight in sounds to mature enjoyment of such demanding poetry as Ted Hughes's. Like the nursery rhymes of Mother Goose, the verse in Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters's "Here's a Little Poem" is blessed with catchy rhythms. The 61 selections reflect the toddler's expanding world: sections include "Me, Myself and I," "Who Lives in My House?" and "I Go Outside." Good humor reigns, as in Margaret Mahy's strategy with a "remarkably light" sister ("It's a troublesome thing,/but we tie her with string, / and we use her instead of a kite") and Michael Flanders and Donald Swann's "Mud," with its exuberant illustration of gleeful splashing. The pacing is nicely varied: "Mud" follows Langston Hughes's mellow "April Rain Song" ("Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops"). Bedtime poems round out a collection with just one misstep: Milne's "Halfway Down" breaks off halfway, at "the stair / where / I always / stop," robbed of its raison d'être - the intriguing notion that "It isn't really anywhere! / It's somewhere else / instead." Still, with a wonderful range of choices and Polly Dunbar's inviting illustrations, this could become a favorite lap book. Children will meet some of the best-known poetry in English in Jackie Morris's "The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems." Some are so well known as to seem superfluous ("The Road Not Taken," or Shakespeare's Sonnet 18: "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"), yet it's worth remembering that children themselves are new. The bright watercolors and intriguing hints of story that Morris splashes across the pages make this an attractive venue for first encounters with the soon-to-be-familiar. Though Morris revels in the romantic ("She Walks in Beauty"), her art serves other moods as well - the "jocund company" of Wordsworth's "Daffodils," Siegfried Sassoon's bitter memories of war. Even without the lush format, the more than 70 poems have enough range and allure to entice the young and the adults who read to them. Luminaries like Yeats and Poe keep amiable company with Ogden Nash ("The Tale of Custard the Dragon") and Alfred Noyes ("The Highwayman"). While anthologies open young minds to poetry's unbounded possibilities, books like the new collections by Valerie Worth (1933-94) and Ted Hughes (1930-98) impart a deeper sense of a single poet. Worth wrote several volumes of "small" verses. Her poems typically segue from the ordinary (raw carrots, say, or weeds; an old clock; a dead crab) to a small, precise epiphany - about what's described, about the reader, about the world. Natalie Babbitt, Worth's frequent collaborator, excelled in delicate pencil drawings that were perfectly paired with the poet's gentle insights. Surprisingly, Steve Jenkins's bold cut-paper collages suit these funny, thought-provoking (and previously unpublished) "Animal Poems" just as well. Don't tell the children (let them enjoy the poems on their own terms), but Worth also teaches what poems can do. Sounds can reverberate ("Snail": "Only compare/our ... rugs and chairs, / to the bare / stone spiral / of his one / unlighted / stairwell") and mimic movement (minnows' "slivers / sift together / in a scintillating / mesh"); the poet adroitly compares (camels "munching and belching / like smug old maids / remembering") or challenges perceptions ("The bear's fur/is gentle but ... we/look, and his / hot eye / stings out / from the dark hive / of his head / like a fierce / furious / bee"). She can build from innocent awe at a gorilla's latent power to an unexpected payoff: "Strong / enough to / fear no / enemy; / feeding / serenely / on celery." Meanwhile, in brilliantly composed collages, Jenkins (whose "What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?" was a Caldecott Honor Book in 2004) catches the essence of each creature - a shaggy groundhog poised on an ample white background, a whale afloat in deepest blue - with expertly snipped paper, textured or marbled, feathery or sleek, deftly adding such details as eyes of luminous intelligence. Worth's voice is quizzical, yet wise and affectionate. Ted Hughes's "Collected Poems for Children," many of them also about animals, are as perceptive and as well informed on nature's minutiae. He too telegraphs profound significance with exquisite skill. But Hughes inhabits a far darker world, fraught with sharp teeth, claws, knives and strange visions: a pig's nightmare of the sun as a fried egg; a needle to stitch poets' eyelids "so they can sing better"; a "Moon-Lily" fading away in "nights of quiet sobbing, and no sleep for you." The word "children" in the title of this omnibus (it incorporates eight earlier books) is unfortunate. Older kids will enjoy the first 60 pages, especially the oddball characters in "Meet My Folks!" But even here it's often the deceptively cheery rhymes and rhythms, more than the subject matter, that suggest a young audience. In the first poem a seal's eyes are "as wild / and wide and dark / as a famine child" that has "lost its mother." And while some poems are laced with humor and virtuosic wordplay, Hughes tends to upend the most innocent context with abruptly savage imagery. On the other hand, teenagers will easily relate to such darkly allusive, fantastical works as his "Moon Poems" ("In every moonmirror lurks a danger. / Look in it - and there glances out some stranger"). Absorbed in the newly discovered depths of their own souls, they're ripe to appreciate disillusionment, as well as Hughes's phenomenal craft. Adults, however, may be the best audience for the cruel beauty of the poems that make up "Season Songs," with their expert depiction of rural life and resonant imagery. Raymond Briggs's drawings are splendid: they develop the fantastical, underline fierce horror or add a touch of pathos. His sensitivity, rough humor and grasp of humanity's dark side match the poet's perfectly - another reason this book is a keeper, one to rediscover in all life's seasons. Joanna Rudge Long, a former editor at Kirkus Reviews, writes and lectures about children's books.

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [October 27, 2009]
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 3 Up-An appealing assortment of 74 classic poems that touch on childhood, animals and the natural world, love, war, and the stages of life. The selections range from standard children's fare, such as Robert Louis Stevenson's "Bed in Summer" and "The Land of Counterpane," to more mature works, such as John Donne's "Meditation XVII." Many have been widely anthologized, among them Walter de la Mare's "Tartary," Eleanor Farjeon's "Cats," William Wordsworth's "Daffodils," and Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken." Overall, this is a sumptuously packaged collection, with many large, double-paged illustrations. Morris's watercolors on hot-pressed paper are romantic and spirited. There are many excellent collections of classic poetry for children available, including Michael Harrison and Christopher Stuart-Clark's The Oxford Treasury of Classic Poems (1998) and James R. Berry's Classic Poems to Read Aloud (Kingfisher, 1995). This one is somewhat shorter than those volumes, but its attractive design brings a fresh perspective to these poems and makes them accessible to a wide range of readers.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Stately figures and scenes in luminous colors provide rich backdrops for 74 English poems selected as much for their sonorous language as for their familiarity. Morris arranges her choices in, by and large, organic order, opening with Kathleen Raines' mesmerizing "Spell of Creation," closing with Tennyson's "Poet's Song," and in between, letting Blake, Shakespeare and Byron, Poe and Elizabeth Barrett Browning rub shoulders with the likes of Eleanor Farjeon and Walter de la Mare, Auden and Yeats with Ogden Nash and Rachel Field. Aside from a startlingly bloodthirsty ballad by Thomas Love Peacock, the entries are eloquent observations that range in tone from reverent to droll, on growing, loving, seeing beneath surfaces and living in the world. Animals put in appearances too, from Blake's Tyger to Milne's "Furry Bear." Extending even to the endpapers, the flood of words and images in this sumptuous volume creates an uplifting experience for the eye and ear both. An ideal collection to give or to share. (indexes) (Poetry. 10-12, adult) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.