Thursday, August 6, 2015

Poetry for Little Ones: "Lullaby & Kisses Sweet"

Poems to Love with Your Baby
Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by Alyssa Nassner
Abrams Appleseed, 2015

I haven’t written a poetry book review in ages! Actually, I haven’t been buying many children’s books since my husband and I downsized when we moved into our new place—right next door to my daughter, son-in-law, and two granddaughters. It took soooo long to move all my books—many of which are children’s poetry books—to my new abode. It also cost a lot of money to have custom-made bookcases built and installed in my new library/slash office and upstairs hallway so my books would be easily available when I wanted to get some to read to my granddaughter...or myself. I thought it best to cut back on book purchases. In addition, my favorite children’s bookshop closed its doors in June 2012. The owner—who is a good friend—couldn’t compete with big businesses like Amazon. I so miss visiting her store, browsing through the books there, chatting with her and getting her advice.

In the past week, though, I splurged and ordered a couple dozen children’s books from Barnes and Noble. First, I needed some baby gifts. (I always give books to new parents.) Second, I wanted to give Julia some picture books for her fourth birthday. Third, I wanted some new children’s poetry books for myself!

When I saw that Lee Bennett Hopkins had recently published a book of children’s poetry titled Lullaby & Kisses Sweet: Poems to Love with Your Baby, I knew I HAD to get three copies—two for the grandsons of a good friend and one for my five-month-old granddaughter Allison. When Julia saw the two copies that I had put aside for my friend’s grandchildren, she wanted one of them. I told her that they were gifts for some other children. She looked at me and said, “I want one for MY baby!” I asked, “Who is your baby?” She quickly replied—quite emphatically—Allison!

So…I fetched the copy that I had gotten for HER baby—and we read it while we sat side by side on the sofa. Then Julia took the book and “read” it by herself.

I’m so glad that I had found out about Lullaby & Kisses Sweet on Lee’s journal. My granddaughter Julia loves the book…and it’s a wonderful baby gift.

The book is divided into five sections: Family, Food, First, Play, and Bedtime.  

  • FAMILY includes poems about Mama, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa.  
  • FOOD includes poems about sitting in a high chair, eating spaghetti, and snack time.  
  • FIRST includes poems about a baby taking its first steps, getting its first tooth, and saying its first word (Ma-ma). 
  • PLAY includes poems about building with blocks, painting pictures, and playing in a sandbox.  
  • BEDTIME includes poems about bath time, reading books, and a night light. 

Lullaby & Kisses Sweet is a perfect little package—a padded casebound board book that contains thirty delightful short, rhyming poems, which toddlers will enjoy having read to them at any time of the day. Many of the poems are brand new—and I assume—were commissioned for this collection.

The poets whose works you’ll find in Lullaby & Kisses Sweet include: Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Marilyn Singer, X.J. Kennedy, Laura Purdie Salas, Kristine O’Connell George, J. Patrick Lewis, Alice Schertle, and Amy Ludwig VanDerwater.

Alyssa Nassner's uncluttered illustrations are a fine complement to the poetry. The babies and parents and grandparents are depicted as cats and bears and bunnies and lions and foxes--all with friendly rounded faces.

The collection opens with Rebecca Kai Dotlich's poem Morning, which begins:

Sun woke up,
So did I.
Good morning, Mama. 
Good morning, sky.

The book ends with Michele Kruger's poem Lullaby, which begins:

Let the world grow dark
and spin.

It's time to tuck
sweet baby in.

If you're friendly with young parents who have a newborn, this would be a special little gift to give to them. It would be an excellent book to introduce toddlers to poetry.


Tabatha Yeatts has the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Opposite of Indifference.


Tricia said...

Congratulations on grandbaby number 2! I know you are having fun, but we do miss your voice here.

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

Thanks for sharing your review, Elaine - as well as the spread you chose! I'm so glad you like the book.

Elaine Magliaro said...


I plan to continue posting at Wild Rose Reader--maybe not as office as I did a few years ago. Being a nanny granny for too children keeps me quite busy. I have missed all my friends in the kidlitospere. It's good to be back blogging at WRR...and writing children's poetry again.



I enjoyed your poem in "Lullaby & Kisses Sweet." FYI: My five-month-old granddaughter Allison just got her first tooth this week!

Mary Lee said...

The picture of your Grand engrossed in the book was the best recommendation ever!

Michele Krueger said...

Congrats, Elaine on the upcoming publication of your first book! I will be on the look out for it! And thanks for mentioning my poem.
I am thrilled to be included in this lovely collection.