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Poems Don't Have to Rhyme

No matter if they rhyme or not, celebrate National Poetry Month in April — and throughout the year with these and other poems!

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

A Child's Garden of Verses

By: Robert Louis Stevenson
Illustrated by: Barbara McClintock
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Though first written in the 19th century, Robert Louis Stevenson's poems still resonate with contemporary readers of all ages. Newly illustrated with a nod to earlier editions, gently hued and highly detailed illustrations add a fresh look to a classic collection.

Around the World on Eighty Legs

By: Amy Gibson
Illustrated by: Daniel Salmieri
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Silly poems introduce real animals from around the world. The lively language and accompanying comic illustrations help place animals — from the agoutis to the yak — on a map and concludes with a "menagerie of facts" — sure to delight readers of all ages!

At the Sea Floor Cafe: Odd Ocean Critter Poems

By: Leslie Bulion
Illustrated by: Leslie Evans
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Poems introduce sea creatures and their habitats using different poetic forms (e.g., concrete, for two voices). Factual information is provided with each poem. This small, attractive collection concludes with where to find out more and a brief explanation of the poetic forms.

Baby Says "Moo"

By: JoAnn Macken
Illustrated by: David Walker
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

While on their outing, baby always responds "moo" when asked by mom and dad what animals say. Slightly older children will see the humor in the predictable pattern and lighthearted illustrations — until baby gets it right when he sees a black and white cow!

Bring on the Birds

By: Susan Stockdale
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Stunning yet accurate illustrations accompany a gently rhyming, rhythmic text to introduce the behavior of a variety of birds. Brief information about the birds shown encourages young readers to want to learn more about these handsome creatures.

I Am the Book

By: Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by: Yayo
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Celebrate the wonders of books and what they hold in this collection of poems written by well-known children's poets. Semiabstract illustrations provide an imaginative look at those "…befriended again & again/by a well-loved book./…a wealth/we never lose."

Lemonade and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word

By: Bob Raczka
Illustrated by: Nancy Doniger
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A short poem made from the word "Lemonade," is difficult to read with letters dropped from the first word. Turn the page, however, and the poem is easily readable: "made/one/ad/added/one/lemon/load/and/one/mom". Squeezing a poem out of one word is fun, playful, and downright clever.

Peaceful Pieces: Poems and Quilts about Peace

By: Anna Grossnickle Hines
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Textured, colorful quilts illuminate a collection of poems all focused on the notion of peace. Some speak to children's experiences, while others are more sophisticated and abstract. World peacemakers are briefly introduced in illustration for one poem and in back-matter.

Ten Little Puppies/Diez perritos

By: Alma Flor Ada, Isabel Campoy
Illustrated by: Ulises Wensell
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Count down with a child who starts with 10 dogs but winds up with only one lovable canine companion. This nursery rhyme is based on a popular Spanish counting ditty which is repetitive and rhythmic, and meant to be sung or recited. Music is included in this cheerily illustrated book.

The Great Migration: Journey to the North

By: Eloise Greenfield
Illustrated by: Jan Spivey Gilchrest
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

"Between 1915 and 1930, more than a million African Americans…moved to the North" including the poet's family. Join the travelers as they seek a better life in a different part of the United States. Rhythmic but not rhyming verse is complemented by evocative illustrations.

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