all the small poems by Valerie Worth, illustrated by Natalie Babbitt is a small paper-backed book I picked up for $.50 a couple of years ago. I don’t know much about Valerie Worth, but Natalie Babbitt has written two of my favorite books of all time: Tuck Everlasting (DO NOT think the movie is the book–it is NOT) and Eyes of the Amaryllis
Back to Ms. Worth. . .these are, in fact, small poems about singular, recognizable items. Each poem, like the title of the book, begins with a lower case letter to signify the “insignificance” of the item being described–the smallness–the ordinary, every dayness of it. Some of the poems are straight forward–some are just poetic license on a random item, and some are quite simple on the surface, but if you scratch them, they bleed meaning.
Here are two of my favorites.
I know these rags of which she speaks. My Granny used them. I can also imagine Garrison Keillor reading this on his radio program. (He has a wonderful story about growing tomatoes–or, rather, destroying tomatoes.) I think he would especially shine his droll sense of timing and baritoned splendor on the final line regarding underpants.
My scanning prowess needs some improvement, but despite the wonky type, I love this poem, because I have loved a sparrow. I believe this is one of my favorite illustrations in the book. It IS what a sparrow looks like–perfectly.
So. . .if you want a book of poetry to share with a child, or just a nice book of poetry to read, let me suggest this one. There is no lofty verse or eloquent vocabulary, but the images drawn in word and in ink will make you smile.