Saturday, July 10, 2010

Good Sports: Rhymes about Running, Jumping, Throwing and More

Inspired by the sheer joy 19-month-old Oona derives from physical activity I recently picked up a copy of Good Sports: Rhymes about Running, Jumping, Throwing, and More. Written by former Children's Poet Laureate Jack Prelutsky this collection of poems celebrates the highs, lows and in-betweens of participating in athletics. Most of the major sports are here (football, soccer, skating, gymnastics, baseball etc.) and everything that goes along with them (winning, losing, practicing and good old fashioned just goofing around).

Using simple language and a light tone befitting the audience and subject matter, Prelutsky captures the boundless enthusiasm of kids. More impressively he manages to encourage good sportsmanship without moralising or unrealistic expectations about the emotions of. After all, it really does feel awesome to win and it really is kind of a bummer to lose. But you'll find the full range of  in these rhymes: the thrill of winning, the drag of loosing, and the fun of doing something even if you're not very good. 

Illustrator's Chris Raschka's whimsical watercolors add an additional layer of fun and depth to the collection. Using exaggerated angles and skewed perspectives these abstract-y pictures evoke movement and speed from a kid's point of view.

With sports central to the lives of many children this is a great book for introducing poetry to those who snicker at the mere mention of the word "poem". Parents take note, sport-rhyme may be gateway poetry to harder verse.

Click here to check out the Jack Prelutsky website. While you're there be sure to check out Jack's sports cards  (odes to his complete ineptitude in the realm of athletics), and a hilarious sampling of fan mail from young readers.

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