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Set aside a special place for children to keep their own books.
Summary: In this collection of 51 poems, some set to music, children can experience poetry as it is meant to be. By placing poems by Langston Hughes next to works by Tupak Shakur, kids can appreciate that poetry is a form of song and vice versa. Follow (and dance) along as more than 30 artists perform works of poetry. This book comes with a CD.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, playtime reading, early reader, read aloud book, interactive reading, reluctant reader, remedial reader
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 10; read yourself: 8 to 12
Interest Level: 5 to 10
Reading Level: 2.7
Age of Child: Shared with 7-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: Although we tried to read some of the poems with our daughter, she was more interested in exploring them on her own. She spent hours looking through the pages; listening to and replaying the audio versions; and trying to read some of the poems herself.
Adult Reader Reaction: Kids (and adults) are so easily turned off by poetry. This book should erase those prejudices. The author has collected some wonderful pieces that kids can enjoy, because they relate to emotions they understand, lingo they are familiar with, and are presented by artists they know. The illustrations add a visual layer that is helpful to young children unaccustomed to this art form.
Pros: People of all ages can enjoy this collection of poems. They introduce kids to the art form of poetry, and adults to the links between poetry and modern-day song/rap.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a book that is best savored, a couple of poems at a time.
Educational Themes: Within this collection, you'll find themes related to diversity, history (bonus: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's I Have a Dream speech), urban life, and the emotions of everyday living. Use this book as a way to expand your knowledge of individual poets and/or find more poems by the poet.
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 2.7
Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, poetry, music and dance
Date(s) Reviewed: January 2009
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.