Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Julie Andrews' Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies

Julie Andrews' Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies

Julie Andrews Edwards , Emma Walton Hamilton
Illustrator:  James McMullan 
Poetry with Audio CD
For ages 3 and up
Little Brown, 2009   ISBN: 978-0316040495

For many young children, poetry and songs play an important role in their young lives. They learn their alphabet with a song, and often go to bed with a song or a poem. Wonderful rhymes or song lyrics are comforting, amusing, or they tell a story. In this collection, Julie Andrews and her daughter Emma share some of their favorite poems and songs with us, giving us a gift that will keep on giving long after we have left the nursery and the school room behind.

There are nine chapters in this book, each one of which celebrates a certain theme in poetry and song. We begin by celebrating the beauty of nature in “All things bright and Beautiful.” Then there are pieces that “Accentuate the Positive,” songs and poems that look on the bright side and that uplift sad hearts. “Growing up” follows, with poems and songs that explore stepping stones in the journey from childhood to adulthood. In “Bedtime blessings,” readers will find the perfect rhyme to sooth the mind before sleep.

For animal lovers there is the “Talk to the animals” chapter. Here readers will read about feeding the birds, talking to animals, and how an owl and a pussycat “went to see/ In a beautiful pea-green boat.” If you love the sea and ocean then “Sea-Fever” is the chapter for you, and if you need to have your funny bone tickled, then “Laughing Song” will give you just what you need.

Many of us spend our lives running from place to place and from one thing to another. “Leisure” is a chapter that will remind us how important it is to spend a little time looking at a view from a hilltop, reading books that we love, painting, dancing, and singing. The book concludes, fittingly, with poems and songs about “The Wonderful World” that we live in. Readers are reminded that it is so important to take care of this wonderful planet of ours; to cherish and to enjoy it.

With its wonderful and diverse collection of songs and poems, and its beautiful illustrations, this book is a precious gift. To make it even more enjoyable, Julie Andrews and her daughter have also created an audio CD on which they have recorded twenty-one of the poems from the book.