Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Poems for the Very Young

Poems for the Very Young

Selected by Michael Rosen
Illustrator:  Bob Graham 
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 3 to 6
Houghton Mifflin, 2004   ISBN: 0753458160

Little children love to listen to rhythmic music and speech. Even when they don’t know what all the words they hear mean, they are drawn to sounds that go up and down, this way and that. Which is why nursery rhymes are so popular with young children.

For this wonderful book of poetry, Michael Rosen has chosen poems that are perfectly suited to little children. The sing songy rhymes and verses beg to be read aloud, and little children will love the way that so many of the poems are about things that are relevant to them. For example, there is a poem about how a child is fed up with the problems associated with having hair. Who wants to have to deal with “all the fuss” of brushing, drying “curling / And twirling” wayward locks.

There is a poem about a ticklish doctor, and a grandfather who “likes / a big dinner.” There is a poem about spaghetti, and one about hotdogs. There is a poem that tells you how to make a chocolate milkshake, and what you should do “If you’re no good at cooking.”

Then there are the story poems, many of which are delightfully silly and funny. If you haven’t heard the one about Somebody’s grandmother, then you are in for a treat. Then there is the tale about Mabel Murple (whose house was purple), and the story about someone who goes into the woods and gets lost.

Throughout this book Bob Graham’s charming illustrations provide the perfect backdrop for the poems that cover the pages.