Synopses & Reviews
"Until this century, most children's poetry was either syrupy sweet or overblown and didactic, and tended to talk down to its readers. Contemporary children's poets have thrown all that condescension and moralizing out the window, and write with today's real child
- from the Introduction by Jack Prelutsky
Here in one gloriously illustrated volume are 211 wonderful poems that represent the best this century has to offer. From sibling rivalry, school, monsters, food, and just plain silliness, to such ageless themes as the seasons, Who am I?, and the many moods of childhood, this is a collection that begs to be read aloud and shared with the whole family. The poems, from every decade of this century, showcase 137 famous poets.
Selected by Jack Prelutsky, America's leading children's poet, and illustrated by award-winning watercolorist Meilo So, this useful and beautiful gift is a splendid way to end the century -- or start a new one. Truly a book that families will cherish long after the millennium excitement is over, The 20th-Century Children's Poetry Treasury is a joyous companion volume to the best-selling The 20th-Century Children's Book Treasury.
This book has been selected as a Common Core State Standards Text Exemplar (Grades K-1, 2-3, Poetry) in Appendix B.
Illustrated by brilliant watercolors, a collection of more than 200 poems are featured, written by such modern poets as Ted Hughes, Karla Kiskin, Eve Merriam and Shel Silverstein.
About the Author
For 30 years, Jack Prelutsky
s inventive poems have inspired legions of children to fall in love with poetry. His outrageously silly poems have tickled even the most stubborn funny bones, while his darker verses have spooked countless late-night readers. His award-winning books include Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast, The Dragons Are Singing Tonight, The Random House Book of Poetry for Children, and The Beauty of the Beast
While attending a Bronx, New York, grade school, Prelutsky took piano and voice lessons and was a regular in school shows. Surprisingly, Prelutsky developed a healthy dislike for poetry due to a teacher who “left me with the impression that poetry was the literary equivalent of liver. I was told it was good for me, but I wasnt convinced.”
In his early twenties, Prelutsky spent six months drawing imaginary animals in ink and watercolor. One evening, he wrote two dozen short poetry verses to accompany each drawing. A friend encouraged him to show them to an editor, who loved his poems (although not his artwork!) and urged him to keep writing. Prelutsky listened and he is still busy writing.
Jack Prelutsky lives on Mercer Island in Washington with his wife, Carolynn.
Meilo So's first collaboration with Jack Prelutsky was the ALA Notable Book The Beauty of the Beast: Poems from the Animal Kingdom, of which The New York Times Book Review wrote: "Meilo So does enchantingly unreal paintings: whimsical watercolors made with a wet-on-wet technique that preserves the spontaneity of her hand gestures. In very few brush strokes, she captures the essence of organisms from stallions to sea horses. Yet the images themselves are abstract, almost calligraphic pictograms." Her most recent book is Tasty Baby Belly Buttons by Judy Sierra. Meilo So was born in Hong Kong and now lives in England with her husband, who is also an artist.
NOTE TO TEACHERS
CARS, TRAINS, AND PLANES
LIVING IN THE CITY
FUN WITH WORDS
ABOUT THIS BOOK
The 2Oth Century Children's Poetry Treasury, selected by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Meilo So, is a compendium of over 200 of the best poems of this century. This activity sampler is designed to introduce teachers to the Treasury and includes a sampling of classroom activities with curriculum links.
Visit us online at wwwrandomhouse.com/teachers for a complete guide to the Poetry Treasury and its companion book, The 20th Century Children's Book Treasury, selected by Janet Schulman. Both are published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers.
The 20th Century Children's Book Treasury contain 211 poems from these 137 poets, arranged by theme.
Rowena Bastin Bennett
George Reiter Brill
Walter R. Brooks
Mary Ann Coleman
Walter cle ]a Mare
Mary Grace Dembeck
Beatrice Schenk de Regniers
Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Mary Morris Duane
Ivy 0. Eastwick
Barbara Juster Esbensen
Siv Cedering Fox
Chief Dan George
Kristine O'Connell George
Mary McB. Green
Grace Taber Hallock
David L. Harrison
Florence Parry Heide
Mary Ann Hoberman
Lucia M. Hymes and James L. Hymes, Jr.
Leland B. Jacobs
Emilie Fendall Johnson
J. Patrick Lewis
Sandra Olson Liatsos
Myra Cohn Livingston
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Mary Britton Miller
A. A. Milne
J. Paget- Fredericks
Donna Lugg Pape
Josephine Preston Peabody
Laura E. Richards
E. V. Rieu
William Jay Smith
Zilpha Keatley Snyder
'Anna Bird Stewart
Joyce Carol Thomas
James S. Tippett
Carole Boston Weatherford
Janet S. Wong
ABOUT THIS AUTHOR
A Word from Jack Prelutsky
This treasury has been culled almost entirely from my private collection of children's poetry books. I read thousands of poems to select slightly over two hundred that I felt represented the scope and variety of children's verse produced in the twentieth century, and had no trouble including at least one poem from every decade. Children's literature in general has blossomed in our time, and poetry in particular has entered a "golden age."
Until this century, most children's poetry was either syrupy sweet or overblown and didactic, and tended to talk down to its readers. Contemporary children's poets have thrown all that condescension and moralizing out the window, and write with today's real child in ruind. They write about sports, sibling rivalry, outer space, monsters, food fights, school, and just plain silliness. Of course today's poets still address the ageless themes of children's poetry-imagination, nature and the seasons, who am I?, wordplay, and the many moods of human beings. My final selections represent all of these and many more.
I truly believe that most of the best poetry for children has been written during my own creative lifetime. With this in mind, the collection is weighted with the poetry of my contemporaries.
Children's poets today are producing some wonderful work, and it's apparent to me that the torch is being passed to very capable hands. The renaissance continues into the twenty-first century, and I am delighted.
-Jack Prelutsky (excerpted from the introduction to The 20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury)
In the Classroom
It's never too early to expose students to poetry. Not only is poetry a valuable tool for teaching students how to read, but also poems make students feel, transport them to another place, and expose them to rich language. As one first grader said, "A story just talks, but a poem sings." The 2Oth Century Children's Poetry Treasury contains 211 poems by 137 poets, arranged by theme. It is perfectly suited for introducing young readers to quality poetry.
Children naturally like poetry. Poems have a predictable rhythm and are often realitybased. They have everyday meaning, making it easy for students to identify with.
To increase students' interest in poetry, make your classroom poetry-friendly. Hang poster boards with poems written on them all over your classroom: from the ceiling, on the bulletin board, off the side of your desk, etc.
For primary grades, help students learn to read by reading poetry out loud to them. Make a large chart with the text of a poem written on it in oversize letters. Point to the words as you read, showing left to right movement and one-to-one correspondence between the words and the poem as a whole.
For second grade and up, have students write their own poems, as writing poetry is a useful way of studying it. And since reading and writing go hand in hand, students' writing reinforces reading.
In The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats, Peter experiences the wonders of snow. The fluffy white carpet makes a nice memory, even if it melts away. Create 3-D winter scenes (use cotton for snow) and display them on your bulletin board.
Freight Train, by Donald Crews, depicts the wonders of a colorful train in motion. Create a class train. Appoint a child to be the engine, and then "attach" other children. Add sound and movement. Explain that you have created cooperation in motion.