Yesterday afternoon, for reasons I have not yet determined, Mariam took every last book of the shelves in her room and piled them in the middle of the floor. "Mama!" she yelled down the hallway "You definitely do not want to come in here!" Of course, eventually I did have to go in and help her clean up (there are only so many hours in a day) and in the process, I rediscovered a handful of beloved books that had been getting less than their deserved attention lately.
Among them was A Family of Poems, a lovely collection of poetry for children. Mariam received this book as a fourth birthday gift from my friend Evan and his children, which is fitting because I think of Evan as the ambassador of poetry for children everywhere. A mix of poetry by well known authors from both modern and classical times, this collection has a little bit of everything. The book is divided into sections according to different themes, such as The Seashore, Adventure and Animals, and each section is filled with poems that speak to the theme in a way that children and adults can both appreciate. A couple of highlights for us are Pablo Neruda's ode to a pair of handknitted socks and e.e. cummings reflection on visits to the sea.
Besides the well chosen and beautifully arranged poetry, this book also boasts a collection of gorgeous illustrations painted by Jon J Muth. Muth is best known for his series of books about Zen philosophy (also very, very good) and his illustrations are softly colored and a lovely companion to these poems.
As the evenings grow colder here, I think that this book will be a perfect choice for snuggling up before bedtime to do some reading and reflecting. Most likely with Mariam, but I'll admit it; I'd read this one by myself too.