May 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Visual and Vibrant: Douglas Florian’s Favorite Poetry Collections

Continuing with our celebration of National Poetry Month, School Library Journal has more poetry recommendations for kids from some of our favorite bards. This week is acclaimed poet and artist Douglas Florian, creator of UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings (S & S, 2012), Poem Runs: Baseball Poems and Paintings (Houghton Harcourt, 2012), and Handsprings (HarperCollins, 2007). Here he offers us, in his own words, his top poetry picks for kids.

Ogden Nash’s Zoo (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 1987) by Ogden Nash. Edited by Roy Finamore. Illustrations by Etienne Delessert. “Short and pithy poems about animals, real and imaginary, along with superb humorous illustrations by Etienne Delessert.I first encountered these when I was in the fifth grade.”

A Hippopotamusn’t (Dial, 1990) by J. Patrick Lewis. Illustrations by Victoria Chess. “Wonderfully witty hilarious poems with a wide variety of forms in rhyme and rhythm. The grotesque paintings by Chess add to the fun.”

Runaway Opposites: Poems (Harcourt, 1995) by Richard Wilbur. Illustrations by Henrik Drescher. “Poems that surprise and delight in unexpected ways. The collage paintings by Drescher are amazingly dazzling and truly compliment the zaniness of the verse.”

Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems (Houghton Mifflin, 2005) by Joyce Sidman. Illustrations by Beckie Prange. “Lyrical poignant poems and splendid watercolors paintings explore life in a pond with much depth and fluidity.”

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse (Dutton, 2010)  by Marilyn Singer. Illustrations by Josee Masse. “Inventive poems that inspire and ignite imaginations.”

Karyn M. Peterson About Karyn M. Peterson

Karyn M. Peterson ( is a former News Editor ofSLJ.

Maker Workshop
In this two-week online course, you’ll create a maker program that aligns with your budget and community needs, with personal coaching from maker experts—from libraries and beyond—May 23 & June 6, 2018.