Great Illustrated Books

Julie Andrews' Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies

By Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, Illustrated by James McMullan

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009
Pages : 192
Suggested Ages: 5-12
ISBN: 0316040495

Look no further if you've been wanting to buy a gift-worthy anthology of poetry, not just for your classroom or library, but for all the kids in your life. Julie Andrews, author of many children's books, including two splendid fiction books children continue to read and love-Mandy and The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles-and her daughter and co-writer, Emma Walton Hamilton, have collaborated with noted artist, Jim McMullan (of I Stinkand I'm Badfame) to pull together a stunning collection of 136 poems for children of all ages. Tucked into each of the nine separate sections are a dozen or more carefully chosen poems and even the lyrics of famous Broadway tunes like "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" from "Oklahoma." (As a grownup raised on show tunes, reading the lyrics-and hearing the music in my head-of songs like "My Favorite Things" and "A Cockeyed Optimist" literally gave me goosebumps.) Julie prefaces each section with an essay tying in warm anecdotes and family memories; she and Emma also contributed a dozen thoughtful and appealing poems of their own which fit beautifully into the mix, giving the collection an even more personal touch. There are old favorites, like "Daffodils" by William Wordsworth, "My Shadow" by Robert Louis Stevenson, and "Keep a Poem in Your Pocket" by Beatrice Schenk Regniers. (I still remember my mother reciting John Masefield's "Sea-Fever" which begins, "I must go down to the seas again" and A. A. Milne's "Rice Pudding," which I still won't eat, in solidarity with poor Mary Jane.) The usual marvelous array of poets are represented, including Jack Prelutsky, Mary Ann Hoberman, Robert Frost, and Nikki Grimes, along with lyricists like Richard Rogers and Stephen Sondheim. McMullan's soft watercolors will keep readers lingering on every page.

Listen to the attached CD of selected poems and get those kids picking, reading, reciting, singing, and memorizing their own favorites. As Julie says, "We look at the world a little differently after reading a poem, and we are the richer for it." And don't miss Julie and Emma's talk with James Patterson, here at ReadKiddoRead.

Reviewed by : JF.

Themes : POETRY.

If you love this book, then try:

Cole, Joanna, comp. A New Treasury of Children's Poetry: Old Favorites and New Discoveries. Doubleday, 1984.

Edwards, Julie Andrews. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles. HarperCollins, 1974.

Edwards, Julie Andrews. Mandy. HarperCollins, 1971.

Janeczko, Paul B., sel. A Foot in the Mouth: Poems to Speak, Sing, and Shout. Candlewick, 2009.

Kennedy, Caroline. A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children. Hyperion, 2005.

Martin, Bill, Jr., and Michael Sampson. The Bill Martin, Jr. Big Book of Poetry. Simon & Schuster, 2008.

McMullan, Kate. I Stink! Illus. by Jim McMullan. HarperCollins, 2002.

McMullan, Kate. I'm Bad! Illus. by Jim McMullan. HarperCollins, 2008.

Prelutsky, Jack, comp. The Beauty of the Beast: Poems from the Animal Kingdom. Knopf, 1997.

Prelutsky, Jack, comp. The Random House Book of Poetry for Children. Random House, 1983.

Prelutsky, Jack, comp. The 20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury. Knopf, 1999.

Rosen, Michael, comp. Poems for the Very Young. Kingfisher, 1993.

Yolen, Jane, and Andrew Fusek Peters, eds. Here's a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry. Candlewick, 2007.

Critics have said

"This is a warmly sentimental collection, leavened with humor and poignancy, and though it appears marketed toward adults who will purchase it for their home collections, educators and librarians will also embrace it for its sincere advocacy of reading aloud. McMullan's lush watercolor paintings add to the overall appeal of this well-crafted anthology."
School Library Journal