The 20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury
Publication Date: September 28, 1999
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"Until this century, most children's poetry was either syrupy sweet or overblown and didactic, and tended to talk down to its readers. Contemporary children's poets have thrown all that condescension and moralizing out the window, and write with today's real child in mind."
- from the Introduction by Jack Prelutsky
Here in one gloriously illustrated volume are 211 wonderful poems that represent the best this century has to offer. From sibling rivalry, school, monsters, food, and just plain silliness, to such ageless themes as the seasons, Who am I?, and the many moods of childhood, this is a collection that begs to be read aloud and shared with the whole family. The poems, from every decade of this century, showcase 137 famous poets.
Selected by Jack Prelutsky, America's leading children's poet, and illustrated by award-winning watercolorist Meilo So, this useful and beautiful gift is a splendid way to end the century -- or start a new one. Truly a book that families will cherish long after the millennium excitement is over, The 20th-Century Children's Poetry Treasury is a joyous companion volume to the best-selling The 20th-Century Children's Book Treasury.
This book has been selected as a Common Core State Standards Text Exemplar (Grades K-1, 2-3, Poetry) in Appendix B.
For 30 years, Jack Prelutsky’s inventive poems have inspired legions of children to fall in love with poetry. His outrageously silly poems have tickled even the most stubborn funny bones, while his darker verses have spooked countless late-night readers. His award-winning books include Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast, The Dragons Are Singing Tonight, The Random House Book of Poetry for Children, and The Beauty of the Beast
While attending a Bronx, New York, grade school, Prelutsky took piano and voice lessons and was a regular in school shows. Surprisingly, Prelutsky developed a healthy dislike for poetry due to a teacher who “left me with the impression that poetry was the literary equivalent of liver. I was told it was good for me, but I wasn’t convinced.”
In his early twenties, Prelutsky spent six months drawing imaginary animals in ink and watercolor. One evening, he wrote two dozen short poetry verses to accompany each drawing. A friend encouraged him to show them to an editor, who loved his poems (although not his artwork!) and urged him to keep writing. Prelutsky listened and he is still busy writing.
Jack Prelutsky lives on Mercer Island in Washington with his wife, Carolynn.
Meilo So's first collaboration with Jack Prelutsky was the ALA Notable Book The Beauty of the Beast: Poems from the Animal Kingdom, of which The New York Times Book Review wrote: "Meilo So does enchantingly unreal paintings: whimsical watercolors made with a wet-on-wet technique that preserves the spontaneity of her hand gestures. In very few brush strokes, she captures the essence of organisms from stallions to sea horses. Yet the images themselves are abstract, almost calligraphic pictograms." Her most recent book is Tasty Baby Belly Buttons by Judy Sierra. Meilo So was born in Hong Kong and now lives in England with her husband, who is also an artist.