Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Advanced Children's Literature: Poetry

!PIO PEEP!: TRADITIONAL SPANISH NURSERY RHYMES. Selected by Alma Flor Ada & F. Isabel Campoy. English Adaptations by Alice Schertle. Illustrated by Vivi Escriva. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.

This volume is a perfect companion to Jane Yolen’s THIS LITTLE PIGGY which is Anglo-European/American in focus. Thirty poems from the folklore tradition are featured in this bilingual text. It is a multicultural poetry collection with talented and famous contributors. Ada has won dozens of awards and collaborated with the celebrated Spanish artist, illustrator, and marionette maker from Madrid, Vivi Escriva on many volumes. Many will recognize the name Alice Schertle, as an author and poet with over 30 children’s books to her credit. Campoy brings a variety of experiences to play as co-editor of this delightful book. She is a playwright, researcher of Hispanic culture, renowned poet and storyteller. The care and passion woven into the book is obvious after only a page or two is turned. The authors offer a seminal introduction that is more of a plea than a justification for the uses of poetry, folklore, song, and play both in the home and in the classroom. The detailed “About the Authors” page is equally well written and impassioned. Ada states, “The words of nursery rhymes give both wings and roots to my soul.” And that she says is the reason she continually looks for ways to share them with children. Campoy is no less passionate when she proclaims, “The word, when sung, conveys the pleasure of rhythm, just like a beating heart!” The all agree that folklore is often a child’s first experience with literature and be a precursor to learning to read. The poem, “The Little Boat” seems to naturally follow the tune of “Miss Mary Mack” featured in THIS LITTLE PIGGY. The text notes tell us that “Sea Serpent” is played just like “London Bridge.” The book is populated with dolls, angels, tortillas, animals, and cinnamon. It is truly a challenge to choose a favorite verse but I must say that “Now Softy the Roses” and “Sleep Now, My Baby” are noteworthy additions to the collection. As in THIS LITTLE PIGGY finger plays, games, lullabies, and traditional rhymes are included. A wonderful addition to any personal, educational or professional collection.

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