Nursery rhymes have historically been very accessible to young children, and Bodden makes this history understandable for the young writer. Familiar nursery rhymes along with vintage illustrations of them are included in this book that is part of the "Poetry Basics" series. From oral nursery rhymes to the more well-known Mother Goose rhymes, these verses have been a part of childhood for hundreds of years. The rhyme scheme of nursery rhymes is illustrated with an explanation of aabb, abab, and aabcc rhyming patterns and rhymes set to music are also discussed. The subject matter of nursery rhymes (includes stories about real people, nonsense verse, and violence) is mentioned along with examples. The nursery rhyme is also broken down by type such as infant amusements, riddles, lullabies, teaching rhymes, and parodies. This is not a poetry anthology but a history and how-to about writing in this form. A "Think Like a Poet" section is available at the back of the book and gives exercises for poets to try their hand at their own nursery rhymes. Books for further reading, a glossary, bibliography, and an index are included in the back matter. This series would make an excellent addition to a writing reference collection in a classroom or library. Reviewer: Marcie Flinchum Atkins
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7–These books provide clear, concise introductions to “accessible poetry.” They open with histories of their genres–for example, Concrete Poetry explains that the form began with ancient Greek poets. The representative poems are not child-friendly; one is by the 17th-century poet George Herbert and some are in other languages and not translated. The books also discuss composition mechanics and reader reactions and provide numerous examples. In Haiku, Bodden notes that the poetry evokes a sensory experience and offers this well-chosen quote: “Snow-silenced trees/shake heavy limbs–/a wet plop.” Each book has an attractive design, with plenty of white space and lovely, though unidentified, illustrations. A few black-and-white (or color tinted) photographs are scattered throughout the series; they are less successfully matched to the text. One glaring misfire in Haiku depicts people sorting through packets of mail; it accompanies a text that describes haiku’s growing popularity in Europe and America, but the connection between text and photo remains unclear. Each book includes a few simple activities. These simple introductions can be paired with collections of poetry and nursery rhymes.