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Sunday, February 26, 2017

One Minute till Bedtime: 60-Second Poems to Send You Off to Sleep, selected by Kenn Nesbitt and art by Christoph Niemann. Little, Brown and Company, Hachette. 2016. $25.99 ages 3 and up

"Little raindrops
Through the glass,
See the raindrops -
Watch them pass.
Let's go out!
Little raindrops,
Feel them land
On your head,
And on your hand.
Let's go out!"

I have always wanted to share new poetry with my kids - both at home, and at school. It was a promise I made to myself and I kept it, reading poetry every day. So, I am always on the lookout for a new book that might peak some interest and entertain. The above poem by Edel Wignell (Gentle Shower) is one I would be looking forward to sharing as spring comes round the corner in the next little while.

The poems are selected by a former Children's Poet Laureate who is a poet himself. So he knows first hand the power of words and the part poetry can play in the lives of our children. There are more than 140 poems here, and they are written by some of the most important poets writing for children today. You will recognize many names - Sharon Creech, Jane Yolen, Charles Ghigna, Bobbi Katz, Janet Wong, Helen Frost, Mary Ann Hoberman, Nikki Grimes - some of my favorite writers. They are all meant for bedtime reading, but will not always inspire quiet contemplation.

The first one selected is one of my favorites because it speaks so clearly of the end of many a day for young children. 


Finished dinner.
Cleared my plate.
Took the trash out.
Shut the gate.
Had a bath and
brushed my teeth;
those on top
and underneath.
my gramps and grammas.
Changed into
my soft pajamas.
Fluffed the pillows.
Got my Ted.
Said my prayers.
Climbed into bed.
All that's done;
at last I'm freed.
it's time to read.
           - Kenn Nesbitt"

They reflect on so many of the experiences that their readers will have had; as well, they are funny, witty, dreamy, and so creative. The poetic forms are as varied as the poets and their poetry. They are  emotional, funny, joyful, thoughtful ... a treasure trove for families and teachers to share.

Christoph Niemann adds depth with appealing depictions of the content that are full of the spirit of the selected poems. They perfectly complement them.


The armadillo dwells inside
The scaly armor of his hide
And while deep down he's soft and sweet,
He's harder than a city street.
So please don't pick an armadillo
to go to sleep on. Use your pillow.
               - X. J. Kennedy


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