Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Poetry Despite My Best Intentions

I have no poetry on my order list for the library this year. I bought...maybe two poetry books last year? I have no intention of buying any poetry for quite a while. Now, before you leap on my with cries of horror and wrench my library degree away, allow me to point out: our nonfiction section is tragically outdated (not as bad as it was before I weeded last summer, but still painful) our budget is not large and there are glaring holes all over the place. There are no particularly glaring holes in the poetry section. In fact, I think we might have more poetry than sports books. For our community, that's wrong. It's a bad fit. Anyways. I hadn't planned on adding any more poetry, but then HarperCollins sent me all these cool poetry books and well....this reminds me that I need to at least put a few of those many poetry books up on the nonfiction display shelves for April....

I did buy the new special edition of Shel Silverstein's A Light in the Attic last year. You can never have too much Silverstein. He's the only poet that kids regularly ask for (I know Prelutsky is supposed to be popular, but the kids at my library aren't interested). The extra twelve poems in this anniversary edition are classic Silverstein; funny, irreverent, and they stick in your head like old cold oatmeal.

A light in the attic by Shel Silverstein (Special Edition)
ISBN: 978-0061905858; Published September 2009 by HarperCollins; Review copy provided by publisher

I particularly like Karla Kuskin's Roar and More - it's a great storytime book. This story in rhyme, A Boy Had a Mother Who Bought Him a Hat, is a completely nonsensical and cumulative rhyme, telling the pointless but giggly story of a boy who insists on wearing and using every single gift of his mother's at all times. It's illustrated by the delightful Kevin Hawkes, whose rabbits in this book I adore. Plus, I can put this in the picturebooks where it will not, like most of my other poetry books, eventually become depressed and envious of Silverstein and commit death by noncirculation.
A boy had a mother who bought him a hat by Karla Kuskin, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
ISBN: 978-0060753306; Published March 2010 by HarperCollins; Review copy provided by publisher

Umm...see, the thing is I don't personally like Chris Raschka. I can understand why he's an acclaimed artist, and the whole vibrancy of his art thing, I just don't like the splash and dash style myself. But the main thing is, I absolutely promised myself I would not take up shelf space with any more music picturebooks, specifically jazz. Because we have a bunch of them and they do. not. check. out. Can we pleeease have some multicultural picturebooks that do not feature the Civil Rights movement or jazz? Just, like, one or two? So, yeah, the dogs are cute and all, but I don't see anyone checking out a book about dogs and hip hop music and it's impossible to read in storytime unless you memorize it because of the way the text spirals on many of the pages. I think I'll show this to a couple other people, see if another library wants it or something.

Hip Hop Dog by Chris Raschka, illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky
ISBN: 0061239631; Published February 2010 by HarperCollins; Review copy provided by publisher

Now this one I put on the order list, and took it off, and put it on, and...you get the picture. Because Nye is good. On the other hand, will any teens check this out? I am sure we have some literary teens, a couple have expressed interest in a writing club (which I, unfortunately, have not been able to figure out a time when I could possibly do it so I encouraged them to attend the all ages writing club that meets at our library) but I don't know that we have any teens really into poetry. On the other hand, there are some good poems in here, lots of feeling and emotion and different situations, plus I know I have lots of teens who really like the novels in verse (although most of them don't call them that - they ask for "short books with real stuff"). I did kinda roll my eyes at the poets' little biographies in the back, but what young poets aren't pretentious about their uniqueness? I will be happy to display this in the teen area, see if anyone goes for it. Perhaps it's just wishful thinking, but maybe some teens will actually post some art or poetry on our GIANT and BLANK express yourself bulletin board? Speaking of which, if I find whoever posted the neatly typed list of....inappropriate words, you are so busted kiddo.

Time you let me in: 25 poets under 25 by Naomi Shihab Nye
ISBN: 0061896373; Published February 2010 by HarperCollins; Review copy provided by publisher

Ah, Fancy Nancy. I had intended to buy this one, in fact I think it's already been ordered, although it's definitely going in the picture books. It will never see the light of day if I hide it in the poetry, plus, I'll forever be dragging people over there for the one Fancy Nancy book that's not checked out. Unlike some, I am not particularly anti-Nancy, although I do wish O'Connor would write more "plain" picture books and give the tie-ins a rest for a while. The tea party book was fun though...This is an ok book, lots of glitter and fancy bits for fans and lots of samples of different kinds of poetry. The poetry samples by other authors seem rather random, but as Fancy Nancy herself is something of a magpie, that's to be expected. I do like the way O'Connor shows Nancy's excitement and enthusiasm doesn't always translate into immediate results and her love of the fancy doesn't necessarily mean she's good at everything creative.

Fancy Nancy Poet Extraordinaire by Jane O'Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
ISBN: 978-0061896439; Published March 2010 by HarperCollins; Review copy provided by the library

I wasn't particularly enthused by the poetry in this bilingual nursery rhyme book - poetry translation is always hard and I feel like the Spanish didn't translate smoothly. But I do like the vibrant art of Vivi Escriva. I have a vague feeling that we already own this title, but it was just published so either we own something similar or I have been seeing it a lot in catalogs and reviews. I think we can use some of these rhymes in storytime - my colleague has a Spanish-speaking woman coming to do some music at her baby and toddler evening storytime and we might do some storytelling at some point. I'm also thinking of ESL connections that might want to use this....

Muu, Moo! Rimas de Animales/Animal Nursery Rhymes by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, illustrated by Vivi Escriva
ISBN: 978-0061346132; Published March 2010 by HarperCollins; Review copy provided by the publisher

I actually already received a review copy of The Wonder Book from HarperCollins. If Shel Silverstein and Ruth Krauss went down into a hole dug by Maurice Sendak, this is the book that would come back out. Funny, delightful, and varied. My friend, Sara The Librarian, loved this book when I showed it to her over our last lunch, so now I have a copy to gift to her library as well! Our copy is circulating briskly and I foresee a happy future for it.

The Wonder Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Paul Schmid
ISBN: 978-0061429743; Published February 2010 by Harper Collins, Review copy provided by publisher


Alan said...
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Ms. Yingling said...

Nye's Amaze Me does go out. I try to buy about five poetry books a year just to keep on top of things. They don't circulate much, so you are right on target with putting your money into other things.