Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rhyme Time

Few things give me as much pleasure as words put together well and in surprising combinations.

Perhaps that’s why I’m continually attracted to poetry. Button Up!: Wrinkled Rhymes by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Petra Mathers, delighted me when I first read it because I’d never read a collection narrated by shoelaces, soccer jerseys and jammies, for one thing. Nor had I considered just how early we begin to think of clothes as an indication of who we are and what we do.

These poems can be enjoyed by youngest readers, all of whom can see at a glance just how cool Bertie is by his sunglasses, or how sleepy Joshua looks in his jammies, or what a call to action “Bill’s Blue Jacket” is, by its pounding beat and its invitation to step outside and see the world.

Poems—especially poems for children—can be deceiving in their simplicity. I know I’m jumping the gun a bit—Poetry Month officially begins in April—but good poetry must be read all year round. I subscribe to “The Writer’s Almanac” so that a poem arrives every morning in my e-mailbox. And luckily, the clothes that narrate the poems in Button Up! can be “worn” in all seasons.

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