April denotes Poetry Month. This particular genre is one of my favorites because poetry brings to light the elegance of our language. The beauty of words described succinctly in poems seems to drip off lyrically and rhyming couplets glow with unique versatility. Here is a collection of marvelous picture books featuring poetry for all to enjoy.
Baby Moses in a Basket, by Caryn Yacowitz, and gorgeously painted with watercolor by Julie Downing, is a lyrical story with glorious double-page images of animals, butterflies and flowers as baby Moses floats down the Nile. Among the boats and floating barges / past the green papyrus reeds, / Baby Moses on a voyage / where the river Nile leads. As animals help this precious cargo, the soft rhymes make a perfect bedtime read.
In the City, by Chris Raschka, is a rhyming tale celebrating connecting amongst the hustle and bustle of the city. Pigeons flying over parks and streets eventually find friendship as well as two little girls. The vibrant double-page illustrations, made with ink and watercolor, are done in Raschka’s famous trademark style. Be sure to check out the ingenious end-pages.
On Account of the Gum, by Adam Rex, begins this cumulative rhyming tale on the first page upon opening the book (even before the title page). There lies a youngster in bed, blowing a bubble just as sleep overcomes him. Waking up, there is a glob of gum stuck in his hair. As you go through the pages in this sticky situation family members are attempting to get the gum out by adding more items to the hair. However, the solution will surprise you and the last page will have you laughing out loud. The bright color, especially pink bubblegum color, was brilliantly painted with Photoshop.
Pig the Slob, by Aaron Blabey, will have your youngster, ages three to six, giggling all the way through. Pig has become a couch potato. All he does is eat, eat more, and eat even more all the while playing games on his phone or watching TV. Sure, once in a while / he would lift a remote. But it made him quite tired, and his ankles would bloat. This continues with the hilarious Pug books with the eighth book about this fun rhyming story. The funny googled-eyed characters were illustrated with acrylic, pen and paper on watercolor paper.
What are Little Girls Made of?, by Jeanne Willis, and brightly painted on double-page spreads with mixed media by Isabelle Follath, is a retelling of traditional poems celebrating girls as inventive, creative and problem-solvers. The itsy-bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout. In came Lorraine and helped the spider out. She put him in the garden to catch the pesky flies and all the flowers that she grew won first prize.
Music Is…, by Stephen T. Johnson, is a cleverly packaged book in an accordion pull-out style. Each page brings out musical movement, style and rhythm with short, sycophant rhyming patterns. The steady beat on every pull-out page will likely encourage toe-tapping. The bright colors found on every page were completed digitally.
Venetian Lullaby, by Judith L. Roth, and gracefully painted in acrylic and watercolor, and collaged digitally by Kendra Bonney, reads like a sweet, melodic bedtime song. Two parents afloat on a swaying gondola in Italy cradle and sing to their baby. The sights and sounds of water and the city surround the story. You can almost hear the lapping and swishing of water rhythmically hitting the boat. Hear the water lap, lap. / Time to take a nap. / Drifting down so deep, deep…/ falling…fast…asleep.
Can I Sit with You?, by Sarah Jacoby, showcases emotion, love and companionship through a simple rhyming text. A young child and her dog go through many highs and lows as she grows older. Her dog never leaves her, no matter her difficulty. If you take a long car ride or find a different chair / if the day is strange and new / I’ll be familiar, loyal, true. The vibrant illustrations were done in watercolor, NuPastel and mixed media.
My Hair is Magic!, by M. L. Marroquin, and wonderfully painted with printmaking, acrylic, collage and oil by Tonya Engel, celebrates a young girl and her confidence in believing in herself and her uniqueness. This bold verse displays what truly matters: My hair is natural. / My hair is beautiful. / My hair is free…My hair is ME!
Feel the Fog, by April Pulley Sayre, is another gorgeous lyrical book in the “Weather Walk” series focusing on fog. (Other rhyming books include Raindrops Roll and Best in Snow.) The text is simple, rich with onomatopoeias and the full open-book pages are absolutely breathtaking. Dank and drippy / Plip, plop, plippy. Be sure to check out the interesting facts about fog found at the back of the book.