A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there is nothing objectionable about this collection, but some poems are quite complicated and may require adult involvement.
What's the story?
As a follow up to 2001s The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Caroline Kennedy now puts together a wide range of poetry for children, from silly poems to works from the Bible.
\ \ Under headings such as "Animals" and "Bedtime," works by William Shakespeare and Walt Whitman mix with pieces by modern poets, such as Gwendolyn Brooks and Nikki Giovanni -- Kennedy even includes poems written by her mother. There are poems about dogs, the beach, Christmas trees -- even one about bedtime battles.
Is it any good?
A FAMILY OF POEMS: MY FAVORITE POETRY FOR CHILDREN by Caroline Kennedy makes poetry fun and largely accessible. It also reminds parents of the importance of reading poems with their kids -- not only to help them learn to express themselves, but also to give them memories of shared time together. This book can be read aloud to kids of any age -- and adults, too. Jon J. Muth's (Gershon's Monster: A Story for the Jewish New Year) gentle watercolor illustrations will draw the attention of even the youngest, and may help some of the poems make more sense.
Not all of the poems will come easily to kids. Nor do they all fall into their assigned categories just right. But there is still plenty here to appreciate and enjoy. Parents are likely to recognize many of the poems in this collection, and they -- and their kids -- are sure to find new favorites.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the author's comment that her mother's scrapbook "evokes who we were as well as if it were a photo album." Follow one of her childhood projects: Ask your kids to select, copy, and illustrate a favorite poem instead of giving you a birthday or holiday gift, and paste their work in a special scrapbook.