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Poetry Recommendation: Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris

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“The Children’s Hour”

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
That is known as the Children’s Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O’er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!


I discovered this poem in a collection of poetry titled Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris. The pastel yellow book accompanies me most days to the homeschooling table and in the brief moments of quiet when my children are huddled over their work, I mark poems I would like to read-aloud to them or assign for their memorization work.

The collection is comprehensive (the book itself is almost 600 pages) and includes poems from authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Walter de la Mare, Christina Rossetti, Alfred Tennyson, William Shakespeare, Edward Lear, and J.R.R. Tolkien. The poems are divided into categories with playful titles like “My Almanac,” “It’s Fun to Play,” “Bird-watcher,” “From the Family Scrapbook, and “Almost Any Time is Laughing Time.” The double-page introducing each category is illustrated with attractive line drawings by the talented Leonard Weisgard. Since the poems themselves are not illustrated, the book is best for a graduating young reader who wants to digest more poetry or for reading-aloud to children of multiple ages.

I will not add this to my nursery classics booklist until I have read through it in its entirety, but I have a strong suspicion it will earn a place.

Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard

Have you discovered any wonderful poetry collections? Please share in the comments below.

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Booklist Additions III

As I wrote in my introductory post, the lists on Beloved Bookshelf are far from finished and I am continually adding new titles. Here is a list of the recent additions:

The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader

A fictional tale about the winter habits of woodland animals. Look forward to a delightful ending!


The Story of Holly & Ivy by Rumer Godden, illustrated by Barbara Cooney


The Christmas Story illustrated by Gennady Spirin

Enjoy Spirin’s magnificent, soul-stirring paintings in this traditional Christmas story. Text from the Gospels of Matthew & Luke.


A Medieval Feast by Aliki


Castle by David Macaulay

I know I’m late to the party on this one. Explains in depth the planning and building of a Medieval castle.  Extraordinary illustrations and engaging text.


The Hawk of the Castle: A Story of Medieval Falconry by Danna Smith, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline


Wynken, Blynken, & Nod by Eugene Field, illustrated by Johanna Westerman

I adore Barbara Cooney’s version, but Westerman’s is also lovely and, unlike Cooney’s, in-print! A great bedtime read-aloud.


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Beauty and the Beast by Marianna Mayer, illustrated by Mercer Mayer

Did you know that Mercer Mayer (known best for Little Critter) illustrated fairy tales? The illustrations in this version of Beauty and the Beast are gorgeous. The prose and storytelling are excellent, too. I am only a bit disappointed by the final page, which omits some rich details from the original fairy tale. Still a magnificent book.


Jack and the Beanstalk by E. Nesbit, illustrated by Matt Tavares

E. Nesbit’s unadapted text of “Jack and the Beanstalk” from 1908. Recommended for an older child due to length and some gruesome illustrations.


A Picnic with Monet (Mini Masters) by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober, and others in series

Lovely board books to familiarize toddlers with famous paintings and master artists.


Spring Thaw by Steven Schnur

A celebration of the first signs of spring.


My Great-Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston


The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot by Alice and Martin Provensen

A tribute to Louis Bleriot, the first person to fly the English channel. Bleirot’s many failed attempts shine a light on the importance of persistence.


How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman

A young girl arrives at the market with a list of ingredients for apple pie, but the market is closed. She embarks on a grand adventure, traveling the world to complete her list. She shares the pie with friends, who are the children she met during her travels. Charming illustrations.


All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan


Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews, illustrated by Ian Wallace


Looking for more book recommendations? Access all of our booklists on the main menu or click here.

 

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One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey

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This week’s featured title is . . .

One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey

Sal, her younger sister Jane, and parents enjoy their summer months at their seaside home in Maine. An ordinary day–which includes digging clams for supper and taking a boat to the nearest town for supplies–becomes exciting when Sal loses her first tooth, in more ways than one!

Robert McCloskey is a children’s book author with an excellent corpus. His endearing stories are pulled off the shelf by my children constantly and I enjoy reading them as often as I am asked.

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My children appreciate most McCloskey’s memorable and relatable characters, especially the older sister in One Morning in Maine, Sal. Much of the humor of One Morning in Maine is Sal’s reaction to the loss of her first tooth and how she attempts to make her “lost tooth wish” come true despite physically losing the tooth in a clam-filled mud pile. McCloskey understands the thought processes of a child so well it was no surprise for me to learn that Sal and her younger sister, Jane, are based on McCloskey’s own children.

Along with his excellent storytelling are McCloskey’s impressive charcoal illustrations. The illustrations in One Morning in Maine, in particular a double-page spread of Buck Harbor, are some of his finest work. When combined with the text’s vivid descriptions you can almost smell the sea air and feel the muddy sand on your fingers while Sal digs for clams with her father or the water splashing your face from the sides of their boat.

Another praiseworthy element of One Morning in Maine is the portrayal of Jane and Sal’s relationship as sisters. I am always pleased to find a book with a loving sibling interaction because my children imitate what they read. The final exchange between the two sisters—where Sal steps into the role of taking more responsibility for her younger sister—is the final note of the story, teaching a child that the milestones of life are opportunities for growth and maturity.

Longer than most picture books, I recommend this book for ages 4+. Children around this age also can begin to look forward to their first tooth falling out!

Other delightful books by Robert McCloskey:

Blueberries for Sal

Make Way for Ducklings

Lentil

Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man

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Read more about the life and work of Robert McCloskey here. I was delighted to learn that McCloskey bought live ducks from a local market to use as models for Make Way for Ducklings. He would observe them as they waddled around his studio!

Looking for more book recommendations? Access all of the booklists on the main menu or click here.

 

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The Empty Pot by Demi

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This week’s featured title is . . .

The Empty Pot by Demi

An aging Chinese emperor gives each child in his country a flower seed and after a year’s time the child with the most beautiful pot of flowers will be named his successor.

A young boy named Ping tends to the seed with care all year, but is unable to grow any blooms. Will Ping present his pot to the emperor?

The Empty Pot, through its timeless tale and exquisite illustrations, teaches children the importance of honesty and integrity.

Recommended for ages 4-7.

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Looking for more book recommendations? Access all of the booklists on the main menu or click here.

 

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