National Poetry Month: Jack Prelutsky

Happy Monday! And yes, it *is* Monday. I double-checked. On this Monday, we’re going to start with the grand-daddy of kid’s poetry, Jack Prelutsky. In fact, he was the first-ever Children’s Poet Laureate! If you want to find poems that are fun, accessible, and will get kids interested, then he’s the man to turn to. He’s got *over 70* different books out, and I’m not ashamed to say that I have a fair amount of them sitting next to me on my dining room table at the moment. So let’s dive in and discuss a few of my favorites!

We’ll start with my All Time Favorite of his – Awful Ogre’s Awful Day. Sadly, that happens to be the one title I can no longer find in my house (two kids – sometimes that happens). However, it is a great one to have in a classroom library, and can be used for a large variety of things. I used it to discuss: kindness, how everyone is different, science (ogres are partial to some *very* gross things), and – of course – writing, both poetry and not. Plus, it’s just a very fun book to read, with some words that will challenge the stronger students and will help the less-strong learn. I’m attaching a short video I found online to show you just a little more about this fabulous book.

Purchasing link: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780060774592

Another favorite of mine – and my kids – is Hooray for Diffendoofer Day. The cool thing about this title is that it was originally started by Dr. Seuss, who did not end up finishing it. Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith did the honors – and it’s really well done. One of the reasons I love it so is that it addresses – horror of horrors! – STANDARDIZED TESTING. But it does it in a way that’s fun, and it helps kids (and teachers and parents) to see that testing is not something to fret over, and most times, kids know more than they think they do. AND, it celebrates ALL members of the school – from the school nurse, to the custodian, to the cooks. It really is an excellent title for ALL school classrooms, and would be a fun way to prepare for testing, and a fun way to celebrate the end of testing. Here’s a great video of a read-aloud:

Purchasing link: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780679890089

However, the all-time favorite in our house is Scranimals. It is 100% pure fun in a book package. The names of the animals are great, and this book lends itself SO WELL to classrooms as well. Write about *your* island – where it is, and what might be found there. Create your own animal/fruit hybrid, and based on the characteristics of the two things, tell us about it. Geography, writing, science…so many fun lesson plans can be created around this title. I couldn’t find a read-aloud for it, and I was going to do one myself but couldn’t figure out a setup that would work (tips welcome!), so I found this short video. Trust me when I say this book really is a good one.

Purchase link: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780060753689

Now, while these are MY top three, Jack Prelutsky has SO MANY MORE BOOKS. Just in my home library, I’ve also got It’s Raining Pigs & Noodles (https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780060763909), Monday’s Troll (https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780688096441), Rhymes Around the Year: Dog Days – another AWESOME one for classrooms (harder to find and will take some searching), and My Parents Think I’m Sleeping (https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780060537227).

I hope you’ll take a look at some of these titles – they’re great for classrooms for sure, but they’re also simply JUST FUN TO READ. And that’s what gets (and keeps) a kid’s attention. So hooray for Jack Prelutsky and all of his amazing titles. Do YOU have a favorite Prelutsky title you’d like to share?

NOTE: The links attached to titles all go to indiebound.org. I make no money off of any purchases – I simply want to encourage more people to buy from an indie, especially during these difficult times. They – and their employees – REALLY need our support!

Author: stillmorewords

Small-town girl, living in a big city. Former Coastie, married with 2 kids. Inveterate reader of all genres, though non-fiction and YA currently rule. Indie bookstore employee, small business owner, tea drinker.

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