Children's New Releases 

March 2018

Gleebooks Bookshop - Friday, March 02, 2018
Perhaps it’s part of the zeitgeist that of late we’ve had numerous conversations with customers about poetry… so we’ve decided to engage with the flow. LB
Recently a customer told me there are no poetry books for children, a statement I had to politely disavow. In fact there have always been books of poetry for children, since children’s literature became an actual thing. I vividly remember reading my Golden Anthology of Poetry, edited by Louise Untermeyer and with illustrations by Joan Walsh Anglund, for years and years­—it literally fell apart; it introduced me to many poets who I still read today. Anthologies are the best way to discover poets you like, a rich springboard into the deep and satisfying ocean that is poetry. Starting with nursery rhymes, we have a wonderful collection of poetry for children, from babyhood to young adult. Here are just a few from our collection. Louise


Falling Up by Shel Silverstein ($36, HB)
Shel Silverstein’s poems never fail to amuse the primary school aged child. His collections of poetry are illustrated with his own black and white drawings, and are always beautifully made books­—nice thick stock, with sturdy covers, and dust jackets. We always have several of his books in stock. Louise

The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book by Iona & Peter Opie
This is the definitive collection of nursery rhymes, first assembled by the Opies in 1955. As they say in the preface, the time in a child’s life when their extent of literature is the nursery rhyme is ‘at the transitional stage between picture book…and the first story book’. This is the book that is perfect for that stage, with over 600 exquisite little black and white vignettes and illustrations by Joan Hassall. ($34.95, HB) Louise

A Child’s Garden of Verse ($25, PB) by Robert Louis Stevenson (ill) Brian Wildsmith
First published in 1966, this collection of poems is gloriously illustrated by the late, great English illustrator Brian Wildsmith. All the old favourites come to life with the strong, bright watercolour and crayon pictures. The book has a certain nostalgic charm, while still being incredibly fresh. Louise

A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Form
by Paul Janeczko, (ill) Chris Raschka ($18, PB)

If you can’t distinguish a haiku from a senryū or tanka; confuse cinquains and clerihews; muddle odes and poems of address, duck into this splendid exploration of poetic forms, playfully presented yet with authoritative weight. Raschka’s watercolour and torn paper collages bring illustrative levity to Janeczko’s expertly accessible explanations. Poetry from classics to modern showcase each form, with a very brief descriptor on the relevant page. More extensive explanations follow in the back of the book. This collaboration is ideal for taking the mystery out of poetic convention, destigmatising the genre, and introducing lively examples guaranteed not to be intimidating. Lynndy

New and Collected Poems for Children by Carol Ann Duffy ($25, PB)
This is a collection of the current Poet Laureate’s own poems, light hearted, amusing and resonating with a wistful nostalgia. She seems to speaking directly to the child, and in fact dedicates this book ‘for Ella with love from Mummy’. A really special collection.  Louise

Leave Your Sleep: A Collection of Classic Children’s Poetry
(ill) Barbara McClintock, with CD by Natalie Merchant ($43, HB)

Natalie Merchant’s acclaimed double album Leave Your Sleep was a rendering of children’s poetry as songs with her original music. Here she performs nineteen of those songs, accompanying the featured poems illustrated by McClintock. Many of the poems are well-known, by luminaries such as Anonymous, Robert Graves, e. e. cummings and Edward Lear, others less so—yet each resonates in its adapted form. No need to be daunted by poetry; songs are just poems with music? Lynndy

Poems to Learn by Heart compiled by Caroline Kennedy, (ill) Jon J Muth ($36, HB)

‘There’s a poem to celebrate every moment in life… A poem is a gift of the heart that can inspire, reassure or challenge us. Memorize it—share it—it’s yours forever.’ In this diverse collection, arranged thematically, Kennedy introduces a gamut of human experience and emotions to relate to and relive. Children and adults alike will find something to appeal: from Ovid to Ogden Nash, Shakespeare or Yeats to Naomi Shihab Nye. Much of the power of language in poetry derives from its being spoken aloud, and apart from savouring the words themselves, there is tremendous satisfaction in memorising poems of any length. Limericks? Easy. Kubla Khan? Greater commitment required, but then it is in the extra credit section of this anthology. Adorned with Muth’s beautifully evocative watercolour illustrations, this is a family favourite to treasure. Lynndy


It’s exciting to see a new series for this genre; the fact that these Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush books are Australian, and illustrated in full colour, just adds to the appeal of the stories. Lynndy
A Pet Called Nibbles; A School Day Smile by Zanni Louise  (ill) Gillian Flint ($13, PB)

Tiggy is a realistic child, spirited yet sometimes shy; happily imaginative yet wanting to be like her classmates. Luckily her magic paintbrush helps her solve any problems that worry her. We’re looking forward to seeing this relatable series, and Tiggy, grow. Lynndy 



We now stock the fabulous Stockmar modelling beeswax, in a veritable bright rainbow of colours, at $2.95 a block. I’ve always loved this product, it smells wonderful, and is very easy to use once you get the hang of it. It lasts for ages, and doesn’t leak oil like plasticine. Perfect for making small detailed things—we made a complete miniature zoo the other day at home. As it takes a while to become malleable from the heat of your hands, it’s perfect for encouraging perseverance and patience—two admirable virtues, sometimes lacking in those I do handcrafts with.

All Moulin Roty toys are such a treat, but I’m in love with their beautiful French fabric dolls (there are six different ones) each in their own Parisian outfits ($42.95 each) and the exquisite Ballerina Mice. The tutu-ed mice come in their own boxes ($50 each), with a very special edition of a Ballerina Mouse, and three tutus, in a carry case that doubles as a wardrobe. I think it’s definitely an heirloom toy at $110, but I want one!

The wonderful wooden Uncle Goose blocks also fall into the heirloom category—expensive—but very well made, definitely to be handed down the generations, and still be not only intact but perennially appealing. We have the fabulous Nautical Blocks ($69.95), with an illustrated knot on each of the 26 blocks, a letter, its corresponding flag, and Morse code. That set comes with a calico bag. I love the Flower Blocks ($59.95) too, with ornate letters carved in and printed on each block, and different flowers as well. The Planet Blocks ($49.95) are a set of 9 different blocks with illustrations of the planets, and information printed on all sides. The Nursery Rhyme Blocks (a set of 9, for $39.95) would be a brilliant storytelling tool, with engraved pictures, a rhymes printed on the sides. Louise 



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