Spring time is full of warm weather activities, graduations, and end-of-the-school-year fun, which may leave little time for reading a novel. Instead, try a book of poems full of enticing words in small packages.

“Mommy Daddy Evan Sage” by Eric McHenry, Illustrated by Nicholas Garland, The Waywiser Press, 2011.

The joys and sorrows of childhood are shared through this whimsical collection of poems about Evan and his sister Sage. Readers will smile at such lines as “You’re almost two. Please act your age” and “Stand still as fast as you can”.   Eric McHenry, an award winning poet, grew up in Topeka and currently teaches creative writing at Washburn University.

“Poems I Wrote When No One Was Looking” by Alan Katz, Illustrated by Edward Koren, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2011.

For a bit of fun and frivolity, try this collection by Alan Katz, the author of “Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Songs”. Katz’s poetic style will call to mind the poems of Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky, two of the most well-known children’s poets. On his website, alankatzbooks.com, Katz describes himself as a silly dilly man. Alan has had lots of practice with silliness by writing for television shows, including Taz-Mania, Disney’s Raw Toonage, and Goof Troop, along with comic books, trading cards, and web videos. Edward Koren’s pen and ink drawings have been seen in over one thousand cartoons for the New Yorker magazine.

“The Arrow Finds Its Mark” Edited by Georgia Heard, Illustrated by Antoine Guillope, Roaring Brook Press, 2012.

Poet and teacher Georgia Heard describes a found poem as one which begins as printed words in another form until the poet adds a creative touch to refashion the words as a poem. Found poems draw from words on a newspaper advertisement, a hardware store sign, or a crossword puzzle. As Heard says, “Poetry is everywhere-if only we look at the world with poet’s eyes”. These found poems describe art, nature, and everyday topics in unique ways. Readers may be inspired to look at existing words in a new way and create their own found poems.

Charles Baudelaire, a French poet from the 1800’s, said, “A healthy man can go without food for two days-but not without poetry”. Enjoy a poem with these books.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Dobler

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