Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Reading poetry and fairytales to children

I was reading in a magazine recently how many children today aren't being read poetry or classic fairy tales and fables. It seems that poetry is a dying art. I remember loving Shel Silverstein's books as a child. His books had the longest waiting list at our school library. Everyone in my class wanted to the check out the book and read poems such as Where the Sidewalk Ends, Boa Constrictor, or Hug o war. I bought a copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends a few years ago and still enjoy reading the poems occasionally.
I have a book full of nursery rhymes from when I was a child that I pulled out and have been reading to my son. He loves listening. He recognizes many of them from songs, such as Mary Had a Little Lamb and This Little Piggy.The magazine article also mentioned reading Aesop's Fables to children. I didn't grow up reading those, but I thought I would check them out at the library.
I was able to see my grandma recently and she quoted part of a favorite poem she would read to my mom and her siblings when they were growing up. I thought I would share it.


by: Eugene Field (1850-1895)

      AVE you ever heard of the Sugar-Plum Tree?
      'T is a marvel of great renown!
      It blooms on the shore of the Lollipop sea
      In the garden of Shut-Eye Town;
      The fruit that it bears is so wondrously sweet
      (As those who have tasted it say)
      That good little children have only to eat
      Of that fruit to be happy next day.
      When you 've got to the tree, you would have a hard time
      To capture the fruit which I sing;
      The tree is so tall that no person could climb
      To the boughs where the sugar-plums swing!
      But up in that tree sits a chocolate cat,
      And a gingerbread dog prowls below--
      And this is the way you contrive to get at
      Those sugar-plums tempting you so:
      You say but the word to that gingerbread dog
      And he barks with such terrible zest
      That the chocolate cat is at once all agog,
      As her swelling proportions attest.
      And the chocolate cat goes cavorting around
      From this leafy limb unto that,
      And the sugar-plums tumble, of course, to the ground--
      Hurrah for that chocolate cat!
      There are marshmallows, gumdrops, and peppermint canes,
      With stripings of scarlet or gold,
      And you carry away of the treasure that rains
      As much as your apron can hold!
      So come, little child, cuddle closer to me
      In your dainty white nightcap and gown,
      And I 'll rock you away to that Sugar-Plum Tree
      In the garden of Shut-Eye Town.
Did you read poetry, fables, or fairytales growing up? Do you have a favorite?


  1. Funny you posted about this! My mom gave me most of my childhood books and Kurt came across a book of Fairytales. Logan LOVES it. I also loved Shel Silverstein...maybe I'll have to read some to Logan today. :)

  2. I loved the Shel Silverstein books! I should get those again. I do recite some poetry to Dakin, but we haven't gotten to fairy tales yet--the books we have of them are not terribly colorful and they bore him. Glad you posted this!