The Random House Book of Poetry for Children

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
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Classic will be the most dog-eared on your shelf.

Parents say

age 8+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this collection of poetry is a rich and comprehensive anthology, a true classic that should be on every family's book shelf. Of the 572 poems, some are more appropriate for younger readers, some for older. But, overall, read with an eye to what is age-appropriate; this is a treasury to be enjoyed by all.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byPaulus K. September 11, 2017

Not For Modern Children!

This is just another stale, thoroughly boring collection of poetry hurriedly compiled in order for its author to make money. I guess his own books were not doi... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

Beautiful Poetry Book

This book is great for all ages! There are so many poems you would never get boered. It is a must read for every poetry reader!

What's the story?

This treasury of 572 poems, some written but most collected by Jack Prelutsky, ranges from nursery rhymes to more serious poetry, all of which are separated into 14 illustrated thematic sections. Poems about nature, seasons, life, animals, food, and people as well as nonsense poems, scary poems, and fantasy fill its pages. Indexes of titles, first lines, authors, and subjects included at the back of the book will help those following a specific theme or looking for a particular favorite.

Is it any good?

Despite its no-nonsense title, THE RANDOM HOUSE BOOK OF POETRY FOR CHILDREN is a playfully formatted, entertaining collection of poems that will delight the entire family for years. Readers of all ages will find poems to fit any season, occasion, or mood and, even with repeated readings, will find something new and exciting to enjoy within its pages. The book is divided into 14 broad themes. An original poem by Jack Prelutsky, the first Poet Laureate for Children, introduces each thematic section, and each section is chockfull of works ranging from nursery rhymes to poems by William Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss. Familiar, traditional poems mingle with the fresh and unknown, the serious poems with the silly, and the old voices with new. The mix is engaging.

To add even more fun to these pages of poetry, illustrator Arnold Lobel brought his Caldecott Award-winning touch. His over 400 drawings and paintings make poetry all the more friendly and accessible to kids. Book-reading dinosaurs, plump smiling toads, and chubby-cheeked children are guaranteed to captivate even the most reluctant readers. The fun of poetry comes through here, and that was Prelutsky's aim when, in 1983, he first filled this book with poems he felt kids would like. Happily, he succeeded. And, 25 years later it has become a classic. Without a doubt, it will become one of the most dog-eared volumes on your bookshelf.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can read the poems together, finding ones that fit special occasions or specific seasons of the year. They can enjoy the silly kid-humor of the Nonsense section, or soft, sensitive poems about being a child, a watcher of nature, or a romantic dreamer. Which are your favorites and why?

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