ECHO: Reverso Poems About the Greek Myths by Marilyn Singer, Illustrated by Josee Masse, Dial Books, $16.99, 32 pages ages 6-9.
This April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, and in recognition of that milestone we’ll be highlighting many of the best new poetry books. Marilyn Singer and Josee Masse’s last collaboration of poetry was 2013′s Follow Follow, a book of poetic reversos: read one way, each poem recounts one mythological character’s side of the story. Read in reverse, the poems reveal a new, unexpected point of view. Fourteen reversos offer new interpretations of great tales from Greek mythology–Medusa gives her haughty, powerful counterpoint to Perseus’s stony bravery, and even the devilish box of horrors opened by Pandora gets the poetic treatment. Masse’s familiar illustrations are fun and slyly offer two perspectives to match the poetry. Echo Echo would make an excellent addition to an English or Language Arts curriculum.
Lullaby & Kisses Sweet: Poems to Love with Your Baby, by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Alyssa Nassner; Abrams Appleseed, $15.95, 44 pages, ages 0-3.
Babies love being read to, and they will adore listening to this lyrical collection of original poetry curated by poet Lee Bennett Hopkins. The anthology’s thirty selections are divided into five topics, ranging from food to bedtime. Parents will notice some A-list authors among the group, including Marilyn Singer, (the Tallulah series) Jane Yolen (How Do Dinosaurs….? series) and J. Patrick Lewis (World Rat Day: Poems About Holidays You’ve Never Heard Of.). The sturdy, casebound board book is perfect for exploring little hands, and artist Alyssa Nassner’s bright and engaging illustrations make this a delightful introduction to all the sensory joys of poetry.
Wish, by Matthew Cordell; Disney-Hyperion, $16.99, 48 pages, ages 3-6.
Sometimes parents wait a long time before children come along. They plan, live, cope with disappointment, until one day their wish comes true. Matthew Cordell’s charming elephant couple explores what it means to begin a family, and how adults deal with unexpected challenges. “We listen…. And we wait… but you never come. And everything stops.” will no doubt resonate with some families more than others. One day, while the patient pachyderms stroll along the beach, a crack of lightning splits the ocean apart, and a baby arrives on a small sailboat. There’s nothing preachy or overly saccharine here – Wish is a wonderful, simple and totally heartfelt way for parents to remind their children how much they are loved.