Happy National Poetry Month 2019!

April is National Poetry Month. These illustrated collections for primary and intermediate readers show the variety of forms poetry can take (hello, riddle-ku!) and topics it can cover — from melting snowmen to creativity-unlocking pencils and more. For more on poetry from The Horn Book, see the tags National Poetry Month and poetry.

Snowman – Cold = Puddle: Spring Equations by Laura Purdie Salas features a playful equation poem on every page. Equations are paired with a few sentences that are always informative and often lyrical. Micha Archer's collage illustrations are rich with texture and detail. This picture-book blend of math, science, and poetry welcomes (and explains) the hallmarks of spring with effortless ebullience. (Charlesbridge, 5–8 years)

Salas continues her exploration of the seasons through poetry — with a twist — in Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons. Divided into sections by season, the "riddle-ku" poems use innovative language to represent objects traditionally associated with each season. (For back-to-school in fall, for example: what is "a yellow train / carrying thoughts from your brain / to the waiting page?" A pencil.) In addition to helping readers solve the puzzles, Mercè López's acrylic and digital illustrations capture movement and texture through strong lines and seasonal hues. (Millbrook, 5–8 years)

The poems in The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog: And Other How-To Poems, selected by the late Paul B. Janeczko, range from the whimsical to the very practical. Each is genuine poetry rather than a didactic lesson, employing rhythm, expression, and evocative phrases. Richard Jones's digitally edited paintings capture the tone and feeling of each piece while still being unified overall with color choices, soft edges, and keen observations of nature. (Candlewick, 5–8 years)

Rhett Miller grabs his audience's attention in the kid-pleasing collection No More Poems!: A Book in Verse That Just Gets Worse. With expressive caricatures and varied compositions, Dan Santat's boisterous illustrations amp up the absurdity and enhance the subversion. A solid offering, providing for readers an all-star lineup of mostly relatable, occasionally thought-provoking, and always entertaining reflections. (Little, Brown/Tingley, 6–10 years)

From the April 2019 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.
Shoshana Flax
Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, associate editor of The Horn Book Magazine, is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons University. She is a current member of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award committee, and has served on the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Community matters. Stay up to date on breaking news, trends, reviews, and more.

Get access to reviews of books, ebooks, and more


We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing