In 1983, Jack Prelutsky, himself a notable poet, compiled and published one of the most popular and bestselling contemporary anthologies of poetry for young people, The Random House Book of Poetry for Children. With 500+ poems organized in kid-friendly categories and illustrated in full color by the award-winning illustrator Arnold Lobel, this compendium is STILL in print and STILL popular with both kids and grown ups.
I remember looking at galleys of that book when Jack came to speak at a conference I was hosting in south Texas way back when. My baby girl spilled iced tea on the pages and I was mortified-- he simply renamed her, "Emily Tea-Knocker." (She is now a librarian herself and pursing a PhD!) That book will always have a special place in my family!
Prelutsky has published several other notable anthologies (Read-aloud Rhymes for the Very Young, The Beauty of the Beast, The 20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury), as well as an impressive body of his own work—it’s hard to believe that the still-hilarious The New Kid on the Block first appeared in 1984. I love that whole "series" illustrated by the droll and understated James Stevenson.
Jack Prelutsky was the first person to be selected as the Children’s Poet Laureate and continues to create appealing poetry for young people. This year’s contribution?
Prelutsky, Jack. 2013. Stardines Swim High Across the Sky and Other Poems. New York: Greenwillow.
Jack Prelutsky is one of those children’s poets whose poetry nearly everyone knows and whose work has endured. Which is your favorite Prelutsky poetry book?
Posting by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2013. All rights reserved.
Image credits: RandomHouse;Greenwillow.