Poetry is one of my favorite genres. I love the way poets wrap the beauty of the English language around rhyme, linguistics and onomatopoeias. In this collection are some of the best poetry books from the latter part of 2022 as well as the newest 2023 books. These books will be showcased here and in my next review. They are all picture books unless otherwise indicated and good for ages four and up unless otherwise indicated.

Grumbles from the Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist, by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Dotlich and beautifully illustrated by Matt Mahurin, is a brilliant undertaking of poems about famous fairytales. On one side of the open-page is a disclaimer poem and on the opposite page is a reactionary poem about the same tale. With the poem about The Princess and the Pea, you read about how the mattresses kept the Princess awake-not the pea. On the opposite page, you read a brief poem from the pea’s point of view and how the Princess kept the pea awake by snoring. This book is a masterpiece of poetry verbiage and pictures and best for ages seven and up.

Write! Write! Write! Poems by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater and colorfully illustrated with oil paint and colored in Photoshop by Ryan O’Rourke, is a most inspiring book that every upper-grade elementary teacher would find inspiring. This wondrous book instills in kids, ages eight and up, ideas of how and what to write. There is a poem on each page with a backdrop filled with colorful supporting pictures. Check out the author’s other poetry book Read! Read! Read!

Peek-A-Boo Haiku: A Lift-the-Flap Book, by Danna Smith and vividly illustrated with color that fills each open-page by Teagan White, is a board book with much to learn on each open-book page. This poetry book is also a science book with different animals hiding behind each flap. Conforming the text to the Haiku makes the reading out loud perfect as each poem is limited with words but highly visual. This smallish size board book is good for toddler age.

Zap! Clap! Boom! The Story of a Thunderstorm, by Laura Purdie Solas and brightly illustrated using three dimensional layers of paper by Ella Mackay, follows a thunderstorm from start to finish as free-verse text is filled onomatopoeias signifying thunder.  The storm begins, as all storms, quietly and builds to a triumphant climax. The decline of the storm is reflected in the amber colored sky, and as the rain slows, the earth becomes renewed. There is also a storm back-matter found at the back of the book.

Construction Sites: Farming Strong, All Year Long, by Sherri Duskey Rinker and full of rich color rendered in Neocolor wax oil crayons by Ag Ford, tells the story of how a farm works with all the different farm equipment needed and hard work. The story takes you through the seasons as you begin to appreciate all that takes place on the farm including the hustle of harvesting and tending to the different animal needs.The entire story is told with a rhyming pattern, making not only much to learn but also a delight to read out loud.

A Writing Kind of Day: Poems for Young Poets, by Ralph Fletcher and illustrated in hues of gray by April Ward, has twenty-seven poems, (one per page), that will fill a child’s minds with myriad possibilities. Fletcher easily demonstrates how a simple poem about anything a child finds important can come to life. Some of these poems include Poetry Recipe, Lost Poems and Squished Squirrel Poem. The paperback book makes for easy carrying as poetry inspiration might be needed at any time. This book is perfect for ages ten and up.

Octopus Shocktopus!, by Peter Bently and iridescently colored digitally by Steven Lenton, is a cleverly told story all in rhyme that begins when an octopus suddenly lands on top of a house near the ocean and there it stays. All through the year, it helps the town by hanging clothes to dry on its tentacles and decorating itself with Christmas lights. But what happens when it suddenly disappears? This delightful story has inventive end-pages that gives hints of what happens to this intrepid invertebrate.

Jo Bright and the Seven Bots, by Deborah Underwood and vividly illustrated using brush, ink pastel, marker, and graphite by Meg Hunt, is a rhyming tale that is a take-off from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Jo Bright is very bright and loves assembling and building robots. However, when the queen asked her bot-mirror who was the best bot builder, the mirror answered “Jo”. What happens to both Jo and Queen will have your youngster desiring to reread the story again. Be sure to check out the back end-pages! It’s quite funny.

Even Superheroes Have Bad Days, by Shelly Becker and brightly illustrated digitally by Eda Kaban, has the feeling reminiscent of comic books.  But this delightful book is fantastic to help kids deal with their emotions and keep them in check. The superheroes portrayed throughout are perfect examples of how to control anger, frustration and more. The superheroes, along with others pictured are fun, funny and sure to bring giggles from youngsters. The end-pages give a heads-up of the superheroes showcased in the book. The rhyming text gives an inventive and enticing example of how to be true superhero!