April is National Poetry Month and what better way to bring poetry into the classroom than to read aloud some rhyming children's books. Here are a few picture books told in rhyme and/or verse I've read:
THE MONSTER WHO ATE MY PEAS by Danny Schnitzlein, Illust. by Matt Faulkner (Picture Book-Peachtree) A boy gives up his favorite things to a monster in exchange for getting his peas eaten for him.
HOP! PLOP! by Corey Rosen Schwartz & Tali Klein , Illust. by Oliver Dunrea (Picture Book-Walker & Company) Mouse and Elephant share some noisy adventures together on the playground. The book is stocked with examples of onomatopoeia (pronounced on-uh-mat-uh-PEE-uh), which refers to words that mimic the very sound they describe (e.g. plop, boom, whoosh).
FIREFIGHTERS IN THE DARK by Dashka Slater, Illust. by Nicoletta Ceccoli (Picture Book-Houghton Mifflin) A girl imagines all the surrealistic places a fire engine goes to when its siren goes off.
PIGGIES IN A POLKA by Kathi Appelt, Illust. by LeUyen Pham (Picture Book-Harcourt) I was a guest at a piggie hootenanny, which is a rowdy and merry gathering among folk musicians and locals.
I've also read couple of poetry collections intended for older readers I just wanted to share:
AN EYEBALL IN MY GARDEN AND OTHER SPINE-TINGLING POEMS edited by Jennifer Cole Judd and Laura Wynkoop, Illust. by Johan Olander (Middle Grade-Marshall Cavendish) A group of writers contributed to this collection of poems where Dracula goes coffin shopping, the ghost of a goldfish haunts a toilet, a monster lurks in a wishing well, and a dead girl who was bullied comes back for her bully. (Keep this one around for Halloween.)
SHUT UP, YOU'RE FINE: POEMS FOR VERY, VERY BAD CHILDREN by Andrew Hudgins (Adult/Young Adult-The Overlook Press) I found this in the grown-up section and couldn't stop reading this award-winning poet's glimpses into the dark world of the young and troubled. With poems featuring verbally abusive parents, creepy grandmothers, masturbation, thoughts of violence, and animal cruelty, this collection of poems is NOT intended for children or the classroom. But I wanted to mention this book because I think some mature teens would get the subversive voice of the poems, told in the form of upbeat nursery rhymes.