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Karen's Book Reviews

| Home | Picture Books | Traditional Literature | Poetry | Nonfiction | Historical Fiction/Biography | Fiction, Fantasy, and Young Adult Literature | Author Study - S. E. Hinton | Censorship Project


Florian, Douglas. 2003. Autumnblings. United States: Greenwillow Books. ISBN: 0060092785.


Autumnblings is a book of twenty-nine poems and paintings by Douglas Florian. All of the poems in this book were recalling topics related to autumn.  Some of the topics include pumpkins, falling leaves, Thanksgiving, the first frost, the cool November chill, and just memorable autumn subjects. Florian's rhythm and rhyme, and the unique shapes of some of the poems involve the reader and captivate their attention with the autumn colored paintings.


Florian uses rhyming words in some of his poetry which would fascinate young readers. His pun on words in several of the poems is very humorous. For instance, in the poem, "Hi-bear-nation," Florian creates a pun with the word hibernation.  Several of the poems have unusual shapes. In "Geese Piece," Florian displays the words of the poem in a "V" migration pattern in which geese form in the fall, and a formation of the geese appears as an illustration on the page. This makes a terrific visual for children. The very last poem, "Naughtumn," has a play on the word "autumn."  Florian changes the name to "Naughtumn," and illustrates this in the very first line in the poem, "The trees are bare."  The humorous poems and the wonderful illustrations of autumn would make this an exciting and stimulating poetry book for children to read.


Prelutsky, Jack. 1993. A. Nonny Mouse Writes Again! New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ISBN:  0679937153.

This poetry book by Jack Prelutsky with illustrations by Marjorie Priceman is exceptionally unique.  It is a book of a fifty-five various poems.  Some of the poems are humorous, some rhyme, some are limericks, and others are just silly. This poetry book was written for children, but would also be enjoyable to adults who might remember some of the silly poems of their youth.

This poetry book is has a forward letter from A. Nonny Mouse to Mr. Prelutsky, who states she is sending in several of her poems for consideration in a second collection. Pretluskys play on the anonymous poem writer is quite comical. Several poems appear on a page with elaborate illustrations that cover the page. This beautifully colored poetry book has different colored backgrounds on every page, and the illustrations would definitely captivate a child's attention.

None of the poems are titled, but some of them are memorable. Older readers of the book might remember several of them. For example, "I scream, you scream, We all scream for ice cream." Another memorable poem illustrated in this book is, "I saw you in the ocean, I saw you in the sea, I saw you in the bathtub, Oops! Pardon me." Included in this collection are several love poems, Halloween poems, animal poems, and topics about people. An incredible poetry book for children and adults to enjoy.


Silverstein, Shel. 1996. Falling Up. New York: Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN:0060248025.


This poetry and illustration book by Shel Silverstein is enjoyed by many children. The poetry ranges from two lines to two pages in length in this 171 page book. A black and white illustration accompanies every poem.  Many poems are included from subjects about school, friends, grown-ups, animals and other humorous topics.


Many of the poems included in the book rhyme while others cannot help but make a person laugh. A highly beloved poem of children is the "Crazy Dream." It is a poem where a child dreams they were teacher for a day and all the ecstatic and hilarious things they would do if only the teachers became the students. The fun would include having them memorize a hundred history books and grow a twenty-foot purple magnolia overnight. The illustration includes the child with writing covering the board and two teachers hung by their ears because they missed an answer.


Another hilarious poem is "Music Lesson." The illustration above the poem helps visualize it in a delightful way. A child, who plays the piano, wishes she played the flute because her music teacher lives up seven flights of stairs.  Above the poem, a black and white illustration shows  the child carrying a grand piano up a flight of  stairs. Silverstein is a fantastic humorist, and his illustrations definitely add to the poetry. Students enjoy sharing his work as they read. Be sure to check out Mr. Silverstein's website. The URL is It is an excellent source for teachers and students.


Riley, James Whitcomb. 1991. When the Frost Is on the Punkin. Boston: David R. Godine, Publisher, Inc. ISBN: 0879239123.


This verse novel is about autumn time and nature. Riley uses onomatopoeia to express sounds of roosters and turkeys.  The author uses rhyming verse and rhythm to capture sounds and feelings. This is a read aloud verse book that is irresistible to the ear. Riley also uses creative language and freedom of expression by using words that show a Midwestern dialect. An example of the freedom of expression is shown in the following lines, "The hosses in theyr stalls below -- the clover overhead!"


The book represents the fall season with its glorious fall colors that invite the eye to explore the pages.  The illustrations by Glenna Lang capture the story of the verse with a little girl waking up on a farm to the sounds of the farm animals, doing chores, and playing on a beautiful autumn day. Older readers may remember the lines of the verse, "When the frost is on the punkin." Riley's book can help pass the memorable lines on to the younger generation. Children will be fascinated while hearing the rhyme and rhythm. The onomatopoeia sounds of the animals will have children using their imagination as they hear the sounds used by Riley for dialect and sound effects.