Monday, April 22, 2013

Blast from the Poetry Past: 1983

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.

Contemporary Connections
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.


Lynsey Evans said...

Hi Sylvia,
Would you be interested in letting us post one of your blogs on our blog? We will include a link back to your blog too, and you are welcome to let us know which blog you'd be happy to let us use. Many thanks in advance!

Jane Heitman Healy said...

Sylvia, the Random House Book is one of my all-time favorites! Thanks for bringing it to the public's attention!

Charles Waters said...

EXCELLENT BOOK! My copy was ruined when liquid got all over it so I somewhat know the feeling of your own copy. Congrats on your daughter getting her doctorate and wouldn't it be nice if Random House had Prelutsky update the book 30 years later?

Linda at teacherdance said...

Hard to believe it's been that long for the Random House Book of Poetry. My daughter would have been 8 at the time. We had lots of good times reading poetry from the book, & The New Kid on The Block-treasures!

Jone said...

I am so happy that you are featuring these books. There is an ongoing debate in my district that poetry anthologies should leave the library shelves as they are not checked out.
I loved this anthology.

Rosi said...

Choosing a favorite Prelutsky book would be like choosing a favorite child. Just can't do it. I'll be checking out his newest one. I didn't know about it. Thanks for another good post.

Sylvia Vardell said...

Wow, thank you all for stopping by to comment. So glad we share a love of poetry-- old and new.

And YES, Lynsey, by all means, feel free to share and link. You are welcome to choose any of the posts you feel are most relevant or appealing. Just let me know which you pick. Thanks again!