Leslie Pockell~~4 1/2 and 5 Star Reviews

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100 Great Poems For Boys

Edited by:  Leslie Pockell

Grand Central Publishing

Trade Paperback




April is National Poetry Month and a fitting time to instill in our children the appreciation for poems that we have enjoyed through the years.  Two editors (Leslie M. Pockell--Boys) (Celia Johnson--Girls) were selected by Grand Central Publishing to collect 100 Great Poems for both Boys and Girls in separate volumes.

Can you name the National Poet Laureate for the United States for 2010‑2011?  W.S. Merwin was appointed by the Library of Congress to serve until May 2011, when a new person will be selected to this prestigious post. Merwin has received two Nobel Prizes, numerous awards, and consults with the Library of Congress during his term on poetry matters. No, he did not contribute to any of the poems that were selected in these two books, but after all, it is National Poetry Month and he deserves recognition.

A few of the poems overlap, but they can be read by either sex without discomfort. They are classics for children.  For example:


What Are Little Boys Made of?



What are little boys made of?

What are little boys made of?

  Frogs and snails

  And puppy‑dogs' tails,

That's what little boys are made of.


What are little‑girls made of?

What are little‑girls made of?

Sugar and spice

And all that's nice,

That's what little girls are made of.


What is interesting is that the verses for boys and girls are reversed in each book.  Also, the title is changed to "What Are Little Girls Made of?"

Poets' works that are included for girls include Lewis Carroll, Emily Dickinson, William Wordsworth, and William Butler Yeats. Robert Frost's "The Rose Family" is a classic that is often quoted, but it never seems accurately.  Many people in quoting the poem leave out the  "The" at the start and say instead, "A rose is a rose."  But, we can readily identify with the poem and its connotation when reading it.

Among the outstanding poets for boys are Robert Burns, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Carl Sandburg, William Shakespeare, and Edgar Allan Poe, to name a few.  Their collected works can provide many hours of bedtime fun for children young and old.

These books are highly recommended to aid in the passing of our heritage to the next generation. With many of the changes going on in our educational system, one can only hope that our children and their children remember these treasures.

Clark Isaacs