Here's A Little Poem
Andrew co-edited the follow up to Walker's wonderful Mother Goose (edited by Iona Opie and illustrated by Rosemary Wells). His co-editor is Jane Yolen and Here's A Little Poem is out with Walker Books in the UK and Candlewick Press in the USA illustrated by Polly Dunbar. The hardback edition is now out of print in the UK, but a paperback edition is now published. In hardback it has sold over 80 thousand copies worldwide.
Here's a Little Poem is a superb selection of over fifty poems by English and American authors, including Wendy Cope, Roger McGough, John Agard, Grace Nichols, Colin McNaughton, Jack Prelutsky, Langston Hughes, and many more. Affectionately describing the early experiences of young children, this is a warmly illustrated, imaginative world of first encounters.
In the USA, the book won an ALA Notable Award and the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award. It also made the IBBY honours list for 2008, was Booklist Editor's Choice title for the best of 2007, Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week and a Publisher's Weekly favourite Poetry Book for 2007.
"Better value than 100 picture books. This is a fabulous anthology, from English and American poets, bound together by Polly Dunbar's spirited illustrations."
"Anyone who lives or works with young children should have Here's A Little Poem"
"This lovely book deserves a place in every playgroup and child’s library. We all know the huge contribution that nursery rhymes make to infants’ development, but this collection offers more than the familiar cannon. It chooses rollicking, rhyming, rhythmic snippets by modern poets, most of them living – the earliest is Robert Louis Stevenson – that describe toddlers’ experience: poems, for instance, about getting dressed, about play, home, pets, bath-time and bedtime. Many are warm, many comic, a few are nonsensical, but most encapsulate a thought, an image or a moment. Polly Dunbar’s stylishly naive pictures, sometimes given whole wordless pages, sing with colour and fun, as her lively, dumpling-headed, rubber-limbed, munchkin children prance, hop and snuggle. Both the poems and the pictures express a child’s sense of simple pleasures – sand, mud, ice cream, splashing in puddles, dressing up, climbing trees – and the book is visually and verbally enriching even for children who have not yet learnt to speak."
Sunday Times, Children's Book Of The Week
"A treat of an anthology, festively illustrated. It offers repeated proof that you do not need complicated language to write a good poem. Readers of all ages will find treasures here. One of my favourites is Gerda Mayer's 'Paper Songs' - a lovely poem by any standard: 'Launch a flimsy paper kite/In an autumn meadow; If it tugs away in flight,/Trace it by its shadow. Make a little paper boat,/Take it to the river;/If it swims and stays afloat, You will live forever.'
"With its plentiful pictures, lustrous paper and well-known names (such as Wendy Cope and Roger McGough), this first poetry book looks wonderful and celebratory - a fail-safe option for gift-buyers. You can never ensure good health, but you can learn to enjoy good writing. So why not start when they're young?"
"Like the nursery rhymes of Mother Goose, the verse in Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters’s “Here’s a Little Poem” is blessed with catchy rhythms. The 61 selections reflect the toddler’s expanding world: sections include “Me, Myself and I,” “Who Lives in My House?” and “I Go Outside.” Good humor reigns, as in Margaret Mahy’s strategy with a “remarkably light” sister (“It’s a troublesome thing, / but we tie her with string, / and we use her instead of a kite”) and Michael Flanders and Donald Swann’s “Mud,” with its exuberant illustration of gleeful splashing. The pacing is nicely varied: “Mud” follows Langston Hughes’s mellow “April Rain Song” (“Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops”). Bedtime poems round out the collection. With a wonderful range of choices and Polly Dunbar’s inviting illustrations, this could become a favorite lap book. "
New York Times
"An enchanting collection that is the perfect follow up to Mother Goose. As a first poetry book, they don't come much better."
"A high-spirited, engaging introduction to poetry, gleaned from various countries and representing a refreshing array of voices. The selection includes waggish nonsense verse, rambunctious action rhymes, quieter passages and snippets of everyday life. Dunbar's signature cheery mixed-media art injects new energy into even the most familiar poems. This elegant, oversize treasury features children as endearing as the verse they illustrate. There's something for everyone here."
Publishers Weekly, starred review
"With lots of hugs and kisses, as well as messy nonsense and uproarious action, this big spacious anthology of more than 60 poems is a wonderful first book to read with babies and toddlers over and over again. As with nursery rhymes, the sounds of the words are a big part of the fun (“Oh soggy greens, I hate you / I hate your sloppy slush”), and so are the movements from dawn to bedtime, as in “Getting dressed” (You’ve one trouser leg / And two legs in it”). The clear active mixed-media illustrations show very young children outdoors and in; morning to bedtime; loving, teary, absurd, furious. The intense scenarios range from tantrums (“No! No! No! To everything!”) and jealousy about the new baby (“What’s she want another one for?”) to slurpy kisses and lullabies. Many of the best children’s poets are included, from Rosemary Wells and Mary Ann Hoberman to Jack Prelutsky; and there are adult poets too, Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein, and more. Unlike in Mother Goose, the slapstick here is always child-centered, from “Mud, mud, glorious mud” to the unforgettable parody “ Happy Birthday to you / Squashed tomatoes and stew."
Booklist, starred review
"Achieves picture book nirvana...a richly entertaining book. The real joy of this book is how it makes poetry look like fun. Every page sings..."
Sydney Morning Herald
"Many collections of poems that purport to be for very young children are actually for primary graders. This oversize book really is for preschoolers. The poems, one per page, are arranged in four categories that encompass child’s a world: “Me, Myself, and I,” “Who Lives in My House?,” “I Go Outside,” and “Time for Bed.” The poetry is witty, intelligent, and well crafted, and perfect for the target audience. The list of contributors reads like a who’s who of children’s poetry–Margaret Wise Brown, Nikki Grimes, Aileen Fisher, Jack Prelutsky, and others. Almost all of the selections have appeared in print before. Most of them are only a few lines long, and are printed in large informal type in a variety of colors that match the illustrations. The art was created using a wide range of mediums and techniques, and Dunbar blends them seamlessly to create charming images that are amazingly expressive. The children in them are carefree and happy and the book as a whole suggests a world that is safe and secure. Here’s a Little Poem is a great way to introduce the youngest listeners to the genre."
Library School Journal, starred review
"This book is my new favorite shower gift. Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters have compiled here a truly winning collection of short poems that ought to have great appeal for the shortest of children, and Polly Dunbar's illustrations have made them positively sing (and shout and whistle and skip and snore -- on the bedtime pages, that is). In this book, bright, bouncy, round-cheeked children jump and fuss and bounce and trundle across some of the liveliest pages I've ever seen, made so by the combination of great language, perfectly tuned to reading aloud, and whimsical images to catch the eye of every child and invite them to giggle and grump along with the no-no bird who lives in the Tantrum Tree, the grandpa with hands "as warm as pockets," and the shadow that bounces beneath a bouncing stone. Perfect for ages infant - kindergarten and for lovers of language like me. "
Publisher's Weekly fav poetry books 2007
"A true five-star anthology: this is a must have book for all who want to foster young children's love of language and art."
Books For Keeps five star review
"Over sixty poems by a wide range of poets. Work by John Agard, Hilaire Belloc, Gertrude Stein and many others are affectionately gathered here - all embodying the innocence, wonder and joy with which very young children encounter the world around them. The poems are quirky and full of imagination. Here, for example, Spike Milligan writes unforgettably about rain. ‘There are holes in the sky/ where the rain gets in, / But they're ever so small/ That's why rain is thin.'
This is a book blessed by Polly Dunbar's wonderful illustrations which capture exactly how children see things. And the result is a simple, beautiful book, which young children will enjoy looking at, as much as reading or having it read to them by grown-ups. Equally, there are invaluable rhythms and ideas here that will instil in the young reader an early and enthusiastic love of poetry. A collection of poetry which demonstrates what poetry at its very best can be."
Children's Books Ireland, top poetry read 2006-7
"Imagine you wake up one sunny morning and someone brings you a plate, only instead of holding scrambled eggs, you are served up a dish piled high with more than sixy little presents to unwrap, each one more lovely and surprising than the last. That's what's being served up in this oversized collection of bright spots in a young child's life. From a traditional British Street Rhyme ("Happy birthday to you!/Squashed tomatoes and stew!/Bread and butter/In the gutter/Happy birthday to you!") to my new favorite poem by Andrew Fusek Peters, "The NO-NO Bird" ("I'm the no-no bird,/that's right, that's me. /I live up in/The Tantrum tree") the selections are seasoned generously with flavors both silly and sweet. The illustrations are every bit as delightful as the verse, from the perfectly pregnant mommy whose midsection seems to be sticking out three feet to the grandpa with adoring children coming out of his pockets to the family making music together that practically sings off the page. Children riding choo-choos! Playing in puddles! Getting snuggly bedtime cuddles! Babies in baths, toddlers swinging from trees! Children in teacups! Climbing up knees! You'll find the spirit of poetry contagious in this most recitable preschool collection since Mother Goose, and yes, I know that's saying a lot, but how often do you find a book that makes you hold your breath just a little bit before you turn the page? Though the themes may not be new, the exuberance is fresh as fruit. Polly Dunbar's figures all take on the rosy, contented glow of children who have just come in from hard play; I'd even hazard to say that Dunbar's broad happiness emotionally achieves a level comparable to the legendary Rosemary Wells (Wells herself gets a nod with the inclusion of her delightful poem, "Your Birthday Cake").
Exceptional selections in an order so perfect it's rivaled only perhaps by the Beatles' White Album go far to underscore not only the art of the poem, but the art of the anthology. This one belongs in every nursery, on every baby shower gift list, and certainly on the shelf of anyone who loves great children's poetry and great illustration. (3 and up)"
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