Books: Poetry and Rhyme

Great books to celebrate National Poetry Month.

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Marilyn Singer, author of Follow Follow

How did you come up with the idea for reversos?

I was watching my cat sleeping on her favorite chair and this popped into my head: A cat/without/a chair:/Incomplete. Incomplete:/A chair/without/a cat. I began to wonder if I could write more poems like that. I set two major rules: The poem, when reversed, (1) could have changes only in punctuation and capitalization, and (2) had to say something different.

What’s the feedback from teachers and students?

Teachers tell me they’re using the poems to teach point of view, syntax, poetry forms, and, of course, the fairy tales themselves. One teacher said she was even using them to teach math, but I never found out how. Both kids and adults seem to love the challenge.

Why use fairy tales as the basis of the poems?

The reversos work best when there’s a narrative with two sides, be it two aspects of a single character (the Ugly Duckling, morose, then positive) or the viewpoints of two different characters (Aladdin and the genie). I’ll be working on reversos based on Greek myths next. Wish me luck!


















1. I Scream, Ice Cream! A Book of Wordles
By Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Serge Bloch. $16.99.
Joyful wordplay and whimsical collage drawings by Serge Bloch will delight both kids and teachers. Grades PreK–1.

2. We Go Together! A Curious Selection of Affectionate Verse
By Calef Brown. $9.99.
This is verse made for BFFs: We should totally start a band together!/Let’s call it Thunderbug!/Or Sandalfeather! Grades 1–4.

3. The Pet Project: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses
By Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Zachariah OHora. $16.99.
Warning that “animals aren’t always charming,” The Pet Project catalogs the cons of pets both wild and tame. Grades 1–3.

4. I Haiku You
By Betsy Snyder. $9.99.
Hello Kitty–cute illustrations accompany sweet haikus on subjects ranging from Popsicles and lemonade to a boy’s best friend and “ooey-gooey s’mores.” Grades K–2.

5. Out of This World: Poems and Facts About Space
By Amy E. Sklansky, illustrated by Stacey Schuett. $17.99.
A slam-dunk way to teach both science and ELA: lively prose and poetry on everything space! Grades K–5.

6. If You Were a Chocolate Mustache
By J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Matthew Cordell. $18.95.
Who better than the Children’s Poet Laureate to pen a collection of limericks, haiku, and nonsense rhymes? Grades K–6.

7. Make Magic! Do Good!
By Dallas Clayton. $17.99.
A valentine to the special world of childhood, Make Magic deals with prevailing over monsters, the virtue of quiet folk, waking up your brain, and much more. Grades 1–3.

8. Pug, and Other Animal Poems
By Valerie Worth, illustrated by Steve Jenkins. $16.99.
Even the lowly fly comes off well in this book that also details the pugginess of a pug and the alien magic of a firefly. Grades K–5.

9. Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems
By Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josée Masse. $16.99.
Everything comes up backwards in this novel revising of favorite fairy tales, Singer’s follow-up to Mirror Mirror. Grades 2–5.

10. Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse
By Tamera Will Wissinger, illustrated by Matthew Cordell. $15.99.
Through quatrains, rhyming lists, and more, a boy, his dad, and his sister tell an epic tale of fishing.
Grades 1–4.

11. Fireflies & Honey Bees
By Chip Fesko. $14.99
Explore the magic of nature on your iPad screen with tales of birch bending, Rain Drop Fairies, and Captain Wind. Grades K-5.

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  • Subjects:
    Reading, Language Arts, Curriculum Development, Literature Appreciation, Poetry Writing

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