Sometimes poetry can feel like such a grown-up subject — too hard for children to understand and enjoy. My efforts in getting my children to like poetry have had mixed results. However, a children’s poetry book by the recently deceased Florence Parry Heide and daughter Roxanne Heide Pierce entitled Oh, Grow Up: Poems to Help You Survive Parents, Chores, School and Other Afflictions (Orchard Books, 1996) was a real hit with my daughter. Illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott, this funny book explores what it’s like to be a child and have to ‘grow up.’ There’s poems about having to share with or being outnumbered by siblings; there are poems about braces and hand-me-downs. My daughter was particularly fixated with the ‘braces’ poem:
My braces have been on for years.
They’re coming off next week
I can hardly wait to see
if there are teeth beneath.
I wonder if her fascination has to do with her brother’s braces which, rather coincidentally, came off this week! As is our usual custom, we read the poems alternately — she reading one poem and I reading the other — and it was an enjoyable poetry reading experience for both of us. The illustrations by Westcott were as down-to-earth as the poems and my daughter quite liked the pictures.
Poetry Friday this week is hosted by Robyn at Read Write Howl.