Pocket Poems
Selected by: Bobbi Katz; Illustrator: Marylin Hafner
Pages: 32
Publisher/Date: Dutton/Penguin Group/2004
ISBN: 0525471723
Age Levels: All

Book Review

Years ago I kept in my classroom a well-thumbed, much-loved poetry book titled Upside Down and Inside Out: Poems for All Your Pockets by Bobbi Katz. Year after year my students read and re-read the book. We created our own "pocket poems," performing them during "author hour" and displaying them around the room. I was delighted to see, therefore, this new anthology Pocket Poems come across my desk.

Selected by Bobbi Katz, these "pocket-sized" poems are perfect for introducing children to the world of poetry. Katz has done a superb job: The selections are a delightful mixture of silly and serious, fun and fantastical, thoughtful and nonsensical.

Herein you will find the evocative poem "Autumn" by Emily Dickinson as well as a humorous rhyme about toothpaste on the loose. Readers will also find "Twinkle, Twinkle" by Lewis Carroll as well as a funny four-liner, "Raising Frogs for Profit" by an anonymous rhymer.

There are fifty-three poems all together, many of them containing eight lines or less. The illustrations, some spot art and some full-page, are done in pen-and-ink and watercolor. Full of details, they capture perfectly the imagery of the text.

In the introductory poem to the book, Katz declares:

. . . You can misplace your homework.
You can lose your left shoe.
But that poem in your pocket will be a part of you.
And nothing can take it.
And nothing can break it.
That poem in your pocket
part of . . .

In this age of wars and uncertainty, being able to hold an inspiring or witty or wise or wonderful verse in one's heart can be a comforting thing indeed.

Reviewed by K.J. Wagner
©2005 Education Oasis http://www.educationoasis.com

About the Author

Bobbi Katz has written many books over the past thirty years. She says a pocket is "a safe place to store a small treasure or a key." Some of her recent books are: A Rumpus of Rhymes: A Book of Noisy Poems and We, the People. She lives in New York City and upstate New York. Be sure to visit the author's website.

About the Illustrator

Marilyn Hafner is the well-known and versatile author and illustrator of many books for children, including the Molly and Emmett Books, based on the characters she developed for Ladybug magazine. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.