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The rarest and best poetry for children

Poet Walter de la Mare wrote, “Only the rarest kind of best in anything can be good enough for the young.” His anthology of poems for children, Rhymes and Verses, originally published in 1923, is proof that he lived his words. This is a collection of more than 300 of Walter de la Mare’s work. Grouped by subject in sections such as "All Creatures Great and Small," "Fairies-Witches-Phantoms" and "Books and Stories."

Maclean, Bryant and Bradley concluded in their study that children who are familiar with a variety of  nursery rhymes when they are between the ages three and six have increased literacy ability in the three years that follow.
public domain & Tasha Tudor
Classic poetry for children
Public Domain/R.R.Cratty

Below are a few beautiful books to grace your child’s world. As well as a wonderful introduction to the rhythmic, mnemonic, allegorical uses of language.

A Child's Garden of Verses by master poet and storyteller Robert Louis Stevenson; is a beautiful collection of sixty-six poems from sailing boats down a river, to waiting for the lamplighter, children read and imagination. Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), wrote A Child's Garden of Verses, one of the best known and most beloved collections of children's poetry in the English language. Originally he wrote these poems for his children, while bedridden with tuberculosis. A must read for every family. (Remember Stevenson for your older children too. He wrote many novels, including The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Kidnapped, The Black Arrow, and Treasure Island.)

A bit more of a challenge to find but worth the search is A Rocket in My Pocket: The Rhymes and Chants of Young Americans by Carl Withers. More than 400 street songs, jingles, riddles, chants for skipping rope, bouncing balls, counting off games and rhymes comprise this collection of American folklore. Originally published in 1948, and republished every 20 years--1947, 1967, 1987… Many of the selections were originally published in the nineteenth-century children’s magazines St. Nicholas and Youth’s Companion.

The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems by Donald Hall is a selection of poems from over two centuries. Chronological assembled and includes a few newly chosen poems as well as many added poets, including e. e. cummings, Ogden Nash, and Gwendolyn Brooks. The collection starts with Native American cradle songs, moves on to a rhymed alphabet, children’s poetry that bloomed in the 19th century with 'A Visit from St. Nicholas,' expanding into poems from both the 20th, and 21st centuries." Filled with humor, lullabies, and favorite story poems-such as Ernest Lawrence Thayer's "Casey at the Bat."

A Child's Book of Poems Hardcover by Gyo Fujikawa. Gyo Fujikawa sweetly illustrates poems from literature’s most beloved writers. Children will fall in love with William Blake, Kate Greenaway, Emily Dickinson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Christmas Bells,” Lewis Carroll’s “The Melancholy Pig,” and Eugene Fields’ “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,” along with proverbs, limericks, nursery rhymes, and folk songs.


Rhonda Cratty includes her experiences of 30 years of public school teaching, raising children of her own, and articles written for on-line and hard copy publications -within the pages of Learning at home. Learning at home can be purchased in print or eBook form through

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