Monday, October 30, 2006

Review: The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems

Are you looking to introduce classic poetry to a child? And, by classic I mean canonical--Shakespeare, Dickinson, Poe. Then look no further than The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems.

The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems, compiled and illustrated by Jackie Morris, and with an introduction by Carol Ann Duffy, is a beautiful new collection of poetic masterpieces.

The book opens with Emily Dickinson's "A Book" and E.V. Rieu's "The Paintbox," honoring the word and illustration. What follows is a wide variety of poems you know from Nash to Yeats, Carroll to Rilke, Millay to Shakespeare, Stevens to Browning. And, Michele, there's even a Siegfried Sassoon poem included.

Jackie Morris illustrates her selected poems with lush illustrations of animals, people, oceans, seas, ships, and many, many stars. My favorite illustration adorns a two-page spread with "She Walks in Beauty" (Byron) on the left page and "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" (Yeats) on the right. On the left page a serious man holds the train of a woman's blue cloak, a cloak that continues all the way to the top of the right page where a woman stares out into the "cloths of heaven."

The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems is a perfect gift for the holidays or for a new baby. It's one of those rare books that can stand on a bookshelf from birth through high school graduation.