Sunday, May 14, 2017

Poetry for Kids: Walt Whitman, edited by Karen Karbiener, illustrated by Kate Evans

Was Walt Whitman the greatest American poet?  I don't know if you can pick a single greatest, but there is no question he is one of the greatest and most influential American poets.  In Poetry for Kids: Walt Whitman, Karen Karbiener has collected selections and excerpts from Whitman's poems, illustrated by Kate Evans, to introduce young readers to Whitman's memorable poetry.

Whitman's 19th century English may be off-putting to 21st century readers, but I don't believe it's inaccessible.  Karbiener helps with the language by providing brief glossaries for each poem, defining words that are more obscure or out of common usage.  Whether a child reads these on her own, or listens as a parent or older reader reads aloud, the beauty and rhythms of Whitman's work will come through.

The spare but colorful illustrations capture the time period of Whitman's writing, and support the poems without upstaging them.  This is a beautiful book which should encourage kids to read and reread Whitman's poetry.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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