Sunday, August 03, 2008

A Family of Poems selected by Caroline Kennedy; Illustrated with watercolors by Jon J. Muth

I bought this book solely because of the illustrator. My library has several of his books, and my favorite is The Three Questions, based on a short story of the same name by Leo Tolstoy. His watercolors are nothing less than enchanting and match perfectly the text.

After enjoying the paintings, I turned to the poems. Numerous favorites by Frost, Lear, Carroll, Neruda, Yeats, Nash, and Langston Hughes are here. Lear’s “The Owl and the Pussycat” may have been the first poem I memorized.

Once, I was in Paris, France riding the Metro, when a shabbily dressed man stood up and began reciting poetry by Verlaine. When he was finished, he walked around with a cup and a few people dropped in some coins. I thought this was a splendid idea, so I stood and recited "Owl." I got some applause and bowed. One man offered some coins, I laughed and thanked him, but he insisted. I bought a crepe with apricot butter on the street that night, and it was the best I ever tasted.

This book of poetry will take all readers back to their childhood. 4-1/2 stars because she left out “The Duel” (The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat) by Eugene Field.

-Chiron, 8/3/08

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