Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Tree that Time Built - a wonderful new collection of poetry (ages 8 - 14)

I grew up loving the hilarious poems of Shel Silverstein, but I found understanding poetry in high school a challenging transition.  Poems can pack so much in so few words, they can be difficult for children to wrestle with.  I would encourage parents to share a sprinkling of poetry with their children as they grow older.  Just keep reading a few poems every now and then; don't talk lots about them.  A wonderful new collection of poetry, The Tree That Time Built, is a perfect collection for your home.
The Tree That Time Built:
A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination

edited by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston
ages 8 - 14
Poetry and science both ask us to think about the world around us, to pause and reflect on nature's patterns and rhythms, the plants and animals we see and learn about.  More than that, poetry and science prompt us to ask questions, to explore and to wonder.  This poetry collection helps children think more closely about our natural world, what we see today and the world that was here long before we were.  This collection is organized into chapters about the sea, dinosaurs, trees, reptiles, insects, and more.

I was particularly impressed by the range of poems in this collection, and how they will appeal to children of a wide age range.  Some poems are simple and direct, while others are complex in their vocabulary and images.  A poem can stretch your mind to make you think about nature's design. The footnotes are a particularly helpful feature in this book, providing a great launch into conversations with children about science and poetry.  Here is a lovely poem that makes me think about which came first, the flower or the bee?
by Mary Ann Hoberman

The fickle bee believes it's he
Who profits from the flower;
But as he drinks, the flower thinks
She has him in her power.

Her nectar is the reason
That she blooms, the bee is sure;
But flower knows her nectar
Is there merely for allure.

And as he leaves, the bee believes
He'll sample someone new;
But flower knows that where he goes,
Her pollen's going, too.

(c) Mary Ann Hoberman

Mary Ann Hoberman is the current Children's Poet Laureate for the United States.  She is the author of over 40 books of poetry and fiction for children.  She writes, "As I see it, my mission is to spread the delight of children's poetry and poetry in general, to be a sort of Pied Piper for children's poetry. While continuing to write and recite my own poems, I will also be presenting the work of other wonderful children's poets in talks and readings and videos."

Another lovely thing about this book is that it includes a CD audiobook of many of the poems.  Contemporary poets read their works aloud as well as works by famous poets from past times.

The review copy (an advance reader copy) was kindly provided by Sourcebooks, the publisher.  Mary Ann Hoberman will be visiting many local schools bookstores on her tour to promote the book.  She will be in Berkeley, at the wonderful Mrs. Dalloway's on Wednesday, November 4th. Stop by your local bookstore to find a copy, or find it at your local library.

This books is available online at Amazon. If you make a purchase by clicking through to Amazon, Great Kid Books receives a small percentage, which will be used to buy more books to review.

No comments:

Post a Comment