Kids Love Words, Especially if They Rhyme--If They're Funny Words, So Much The Better

Etc.Starred Page By Etc., 9th Aug 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Children's

Most parents find time to read to their kids. Some even stumble onto rhyming stories, but how many seek out great children's poetry? Let words be fun! Rhyme it up.

What do you think about poetry for kids?

I for one, think it’s great! Children’s verse tends to be of the rhyming kind, which sort of rolls around on your tongue and has a good time. What a fun way to introduce language–make it sound good and feel good; make it play. It’s also short. Most young kids’ books are picture books–sort of the old-fashioned interactive variety that allows you to have a discussion about what’s going on!

But what about the Bogeyman?

On the other hand, it’s indisputable that many–even most–of the old nursery rhymes are fairly violent, sad, and fearsome.

Old Mother Hubbard couldn’t feed her children.
Little Miss Muffet was frightened by a spider.
Humpty Dumpty fell and completely broke himself.
Jack and Jill did about the same thing.
There was a witch that wanted to eat Hansel. (Hansel and Gretel)
Trolls wanted to eat the three billy goats; and even though they didn’t, the billy goat’s revenge was to poke the trolls eyes out.

"But," you say, "those are all OLD fairy-tales."

There are some newer forms of poetry for kids, but they’re mostly scary too.

Here’s an excerpt from ‘What If’ by Shell Silverstein—who writes wonderful poetry books for kids.

Last night while I lay thinking here
Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
And pranced and partied all night long
And sang their same old Whatif song:

Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?

What’s a mother/father/aunt.uncle/grandmother/grandfather . . . to do?

First, in my opinion every child should know the basics, and that actually includes these wonderful rhymes where horrible things happen. As a child, I somehow enjoyed them without being scarred for life and, in fact, it didn’t even occur to me to be horrified, frightened, or even upset. In fact, having these nightmarish events played out on the page rather made me feel secure. After all, I wasn’t there. I was just someone looking on. And the pictures were nice. And the words rhymed.

No one moralized about the message. That’s probably a good idea. Kids don’t need an explanation about things they don’t yet understand. Someday they’ll get the point. When that time comes, they’ll remember the words and the rhyme will take on a new meaning.

Kids actually like scary things, especially when they’re quite safe themselves. Halloween for instance. Swinging high up in the air and holding on tight.

If you look (hard), you'll find poetry that isn't scary.

Now, if you find yourself thinking that you don’t want your kids exposed to the classics, you have an alternative! Dr. Seuss is almost 100% positive. Not quite, but almost. ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ is all about negatives. Sam doesn’t like much of anything–going, coming, eating, anything. But most of Dr. Seuss has a positive orientation like this excerpt from ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go.’

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

So…
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

The message of course is READ TO YOUR KIDS

Give kids the gift of words even before they can read to themselves.

Read lots of books: picture books, chapter books, animal books, poems that rhyme. Your kids will grow up loving to read, and reading is the foundation for every sort of learning there is.

Mona L S Baisch

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Credits

Wikipedia is the source for the poetry cited in this article.
Pencil Drawings are my own, of some of the children in my life.

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Tags

Childrens Literature, Dr Seuss, Fun Books, Green Eggs And Ham, Poetry For Children, Reading, Rhyming Words, Shell Silverstein, Third Grade Vocabulary, Whatif, Whimsy

Meet the author

author avatar Etc.
I write about gardens and birds, books and blogs, history, philosophy and psychology. It will be all wrapped up pretty and bow-tied with a connection to life in the here and now.

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Comments

author avatar Retired
9th Aug 2014 (#)

I liked that you said you weren't afraid of the horrible things that could happen in the delightful rhymes... a good point that probably follows for most kids.

There's a children's nighttime prayer that goes "if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." This prayer most certainly never terrified kids that they might die in the night, yet rhymes so that it is remembered

Nice job on this piece!.

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author avatar Retired
9th Aug 2014 (#)

Lovely work, Etc., about topics near and dear to my heart. Your artwork is exquisite, as well. How talented you are!

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author avatar Etc.
9th Aug 2014 (#)

The nighttime prayer we all said as children was terrifying--which goes to show we paid more attention to the rhyme than the words.

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author avatar Etc.
9th Aug 2014 (#)

Thank you Susan, I appreciate your kind words.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
10th Aug 2014 (#)

Love it for am a big fan of poetry...thank you Etc...much...

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author avatar Courtney
10th Aug 2014 (#)

I agree, my parents read to me when I was little and now I love reading.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
10th Aug 2014 (#)

Great post and superb drawings, Etc - tough act to follow! Kids should slowly be made aware of the real world they inherit and become part of, but guided to make wise choices - siva

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
10th Aug 2014 (#)

there is a saying ...We become what we eat ...so
We need to be very careful what we feed young and vulnerable minds with nowadays , Etc .
I thank the Lord He restored my soul , which was full of the occult and terrible memories , but now is totally at peace my friend .
God bless you
Stella ><

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author avatar Retired
10th Aug 2014 (#)

I loved reading poetry to my children when they were young, and they loved to hear the rhyming verses. I also bought them many books where stories were written in rhyme.

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author avatar Etc.
10th Aug 2014 (#)

I imagine, lavenderblu, that your kids still love to read.

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author avatar Etc.
10th Aug 2014 (#)

I'm not sure if you're suggesting that fairy tales are not 'good' for kids to hear/read, Stella Mitchell, but I think you are. I don't agree, but my article already says that

The world isn't a candy-coated place. Learning to live in it by way of metaphor and story, to my mind, isn't a bad thing at all.

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
11th Aug 2014 (#)

Ah , my friend ...I have lived in this world on both sides of very dark and light ...and I am very grateful the dark is behind me in every way now .

many blessings to you today
Stella >,

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author avatar Mariah
11th Aug 2014 (#)

Very well written and illustrated post Etc..

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author avatar Etc.
11th Aug 2014 (#)

The dark can be very dark, indeed, Stella Mitchell, and I'm sorry to learn that you have experienced it. But protecting children from knowing there is darkness doesn't make it go away--it may make it more powerful.

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author avatar Etc.
11th Aug 2014 (#)

I appreciate your comment, Mariah.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
11th Aug 2014 (#)

Wonderful...
Very near and dear to my heart...my Dad read story poems to me as a child ...Song of Haiwatha was his favorite...I am sure that is why I love poetry to this day....great article....thanks etc..:0)

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
12th Aug 2014 (#)

I love poetry very much Etc ... and among my favourite children's verse is ...When we were young...and ..Now we are six ...by A.A.Milne .
Good poetry is like good food ..It builds us and nourishes our minds no matter what our age .
God bless you Etc .
Stella ><

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author avatar Etc.
12th Aug 2014 (#)

yes yes yes. Love Milne.

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author avatar Etc.
12th Aug 2014 (#)

My sister read t me, Delicia. I'm sure that's why I love to read, s well--and knit, and crochet . . . Our early teachers are so important.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
13th Aug 2014 (#)

I'm so glad I read some comments -- you drew those wonderful images? Such talent! I am so impressed! !

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author avatar Etc.
13th Aug 2014 (#)

Yes, Phyl, I drew them. Thank you.

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author avatar Retired
15th Aug 2014 (#)

As a kid it was more phonetic than knowing the exact words as English was not our mother tongue. And those night time prayers I am afraid of that even now because I do not want to die (lol)

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author avatar Kingwell
22nd Aug 2014 (#)

Great post. I loved the old nursery rhymes.

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author avatar Ptrikha
23rd Jul 2015 (#)

Quite well written.

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