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Poems for Children Nowhere Near Old Enough to Vote
     

Poems for Children Nowhere Near Old Enough to Vote

by Carl Sandburg, Carl Sandburg Family Trust Staff
 

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Alfred A. Knopf is proud to present the only collection of poems Carl Sandburg wrote specifically for children. In 19 lively prose poems, America's quintessential poet invites children to think about the world in fresh new ways, playing tricks with familiar objects such as pencils, chairs, clocks, eyes, ears, and noses. Witty graphic illustrations by the creator of

Overview

Alfred A. Knopf is proud to present the only collection of poems Carl Sandburg wrote specifically for children. In 19 lively prose poems, America's quintessential poet invites children to think about the world in fresh new ways, playing tricks with familiar objects such as pencils, chairs, clocks, eyes, ears, and noses. Witty graphic illustrations by the creator of ZOOM, RE-ZOOM, and REM add a playful dimension to the poems by integrating the words into the pictures or by interpreting the poetic images quite literally—to great comic effect. Simple yet provocative, this unique collection is an ideal tool for introducing poetry that does not rhyme and for inspiring creative writing. It's a delight for the young and the young at heart.

Editorial Reviews

Sean Kelly
...[I]llustrated, in ultracontemporary style — all manner of graphic tropes and typo-batics — by Istvan Banyai....In their introduction, [the Hendricks]...speculate that [the poems] had once "provided moments of fun as he read themt o his wife and his grown daughters." they were intended only for domenstic consumption. —The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wrested from obscurity in the archives of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign library, this bizarre collection of Sandburg's previously unpublished children's verse is not without its droll charms. The poems themselves are uneven, as befits unfinished work; almost all define homely objects or body parts. Many of the lines are somewhat pedestrian ("Toes are to wash when you take a bath" in "Toes"; "Pencils are to hold when you write" in "Pencils"), but they generally lead to an arresting twist ("The big toe likes itself very well"). The tone of the book as a whole is determinedly eccentric, right from the brief introduction by compilers George and Willene Hendrick: "Poets are sometimes forgetful...." The narrow, five-by-nine-inch pages look as if they had been designed to be carried in a breast pocket. Banyai's (Zoom) black-and-white art includes surrealistic surprises, as when a pencil-headed man is sharpened by a knife. His imagery depends in great part on his fanciful way with the type. The title page, for example, is laid out to resemble a doctor's eye chart; inside, some letters are made to resemble the concepts to which they refer, as when the letter "o" in the word "nobody" bounces down the stairs that are formed by the previous lines of the poem. But the idiosyncratic trappings don't disguise the underdone contents: there's less here than meets the eye. Ages 10-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Sheree Van Vreede
From one of America's best-known poets is a recently discovered collection of children's poems. Filed away in his archives since his death in 1967, these works have now been brought to the public's attention. True to his form, they capture an essence of the many peculiarities in everyday living, such as manners and necks and stumbling. Chairs, pencils, wheels, fingers, and toes are also examined. In other words, those things about ourselves, and the world around us that are typical and, yet, somehow odd at the same time. Sandburg loved the sound of words, and he loved to play with them, creating silly, quirky poems that make us laugh as well as contemplate. For instance, have you ever put eggs and buttons together? What would they have to talk about? Sandburg lets us find out. This is a great addition to any poetry collection for children and adults.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-A collection of previously unpublished poems in which everyday objects, familiar parts of the body, and abstract musings are explored by a keen comic imagination. Pen-and-ink sketches enhance the quirkiness of the selections by playfully interpreting objects and concepts through weird distortions. The neck, for instance, is depicted in various forms from that of a lanky giraffe to one on a stout penguin; the rubbery, elongated neck of a girl to the contorted neck of a snake. Words are an integral part of the design, carrying out mood and concepts through improbable shapes and arrangements. "Clouds" are described by words that encircle the page in overlapping concentric half circles; the words to "Music" are written as notes on a scale. A delightful, original interpretation designed to stimulate the imagination and alter one's perception of the familiar.-Sally R. Dow, Ossining Public Library, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679989905
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
04/12/1999
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
5.35(w) x 9.32(h) x 0.36(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

"Pencils"

Pencils are to hold when you write.
Pencils come loose unless you hold them.
One pencil writes many thousand words, if you know the words.
Pencils too pointed break their points and then laugh at you.
Blunt pencils write big long words for you even if the words mean nothing.
Proud pencils get furious waiting to be sharpened.
Long pencils say, "I will write a little book for you if you will find the little words."
Short pencil stubs say, "I write and I forget and leave it to the paper to remember."
Pencils in pockets and boxes shove each other and nearly come to fighting.
They wait to be found before they write again—the lost pencils."Music"

Music is when your ears like what they hear.
Music is any voices you like to listen to.
Music is any sound you want to go on and on.
Music for you is anything you hear that clicks with you.


From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) is fondly remembered as America's unofficial poet laureate. He was also a biographer and historian. His monumental six-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1940, and in 1951 his Complete Poems won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

Istvan Banyai, born and educated in Hungary, came to the United States in 1981. His striking and innovative illustrations have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Time, The New Yorker, and Rolling Stone. He made his debut in children's publishing in 1995 with the award-winning wordless picture book Zoom, followed by REM: Rapid Eye Movement and Re-Zoom.

George Hendrick is Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Willene Hendrick is an independent scholar. The Hendricks have for many years been closely associated with the Sandburg estate and the Sandburg collection at the University of Illinois.

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