Cover image for The 20th century children's poetry treasury
The 20th century children's poetry treasury
Prelutsky, Jack.
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1999.
Physical Description:
87 pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
A collection of more than 200 poems by such modern poets as Nikki Grimes, John Ciardi, Karla Kuskin, Ted Hughes, e.e. cummings, Eve Merriam, Deborah Chandra, Arnold Adoff, and more than 100 others.
General Note:
Includes index.
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC 3-5 4.9 5 Quiz: 28045 Guided reading level: R.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PS586.3 .T27 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area
Newstead Library PS586.3 .T27 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Clarence Library PS586.3 .T27 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Clearfield Library PS586.3 .T27 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Oversize
Kenilworth Library PS586.3 .T27 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Kenmore Library PS586.3 .T27 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Lancaster Library PS586.3 .T27 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
North Collins Library PS586.3 .T27 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Orchard Park Library PS586.3 .T27 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
City of Tonawanda Library PS586.3 .T27 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Williamsville Library PS586.3 .T27 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Audubon Library PS586.3 .T27 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
East Aurora Library PS586.3 .T27 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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"Until this century, most children's poetry was either syrupy sweet or overblown and didactic, and tended to talk down to its readers. Contemporary children's poets have thrown all that condescension and moralizing out the window, and write with today's real child in mind."
- from the Introduction by Jack Prelutsky

Here in one gloriously illustrated volume are 211 wonderful poems that represent the best this century has to offer. From sibling rivalry, school, monsters, food, and just plain silliness, to such ageless themes as the seasons, Who am I?, and the many moods of childhood, this is a collection that begs to be read aloud and shared with the whole family. The poems, from every decade of this century, showcase 137 famous poets.

Selected by Jack Prelutsky, America's leading children's poet, and illustrated by award-winning watercolorist Meilo So, this useful and beautiful gift is a splendid way to end the century -- or start a new one. Truly a book that families will cherish long after the millennium excitement is over, The 20th-Century Children's Poetry Treasury is a joyous companion volume to the best-selling The 20th-Century Children's Book Treasury .

This book has been selected as a Common Core State Standards Text Exemplar (Grades K-1, 2-3, Poetry) in Appendix B.

Author Notes

Jack Prelutsky, born on September 8, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York, is primarily known as a poet for children but he is also a gifted musician, actor, photographer, sculptor and potter. Prelutsky studied at Hunter College for two years. He proposed to his future wife, Carolynn, on the day they met; she accepted the next day.

While growing up in Brooklyn, Prelutsky studied voice at The High School of Music and Art in New York and first planned to be an opera singer. However, he decided he did not have the drive to sing opera, and he became a folk singer. Later he tried his hand at drawing. For fun, he wrote some short poems and made some drawings, which became his first publication. He has since published numerous books of illustrated poetry and also provided illustrations for books by other writers, including many in translation.

Prelutsky never condescends to his young readers. He deals in verse with many imaginative creatures, but he also writes about people and problems such bullies, school, and fear of the dark. He is aware of the sound of his words and likes to perform his poetry to the accompaniment of the guitar. He visits schools and libraries to perform his work.

Jack Prelutsky is the recipient of numerous awards. In 1977 The Children's Book Council honored him for Nightmares: Poems to Trouble Your Sleep. His other award-winners are The Mean Old Mean Hyena, The Headless Horseman Rides Tonight, and The New Kid on the Block. In 2006, the Poetry Foundation named Prelutsky the inaugural winner of the Children's Poet Laureate award. His book Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant and Other Poems (illustrated by Carin Berger) won the 2007 Scandiuzzi Children's Book Award of the Washington State Book Awards in the Picture Book category.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-5, younger for reading aloud. For this volume, which has the same large-size, heavily illustrated format as the popular Beauty of the Beast: Poems from the Animal Kingdom (1997), Prelutsky has selected more 200 poems for children by 137 poets spanning the twentieth century. Although a few of the poets are English, almost all are contemporary and American, and almost all of the poems were originally published for children. On each double-page spread there are four to six poems on a theme--food, school, reading, pets, sibling rivalry, the seasons, nonsense, etc.--lavishly illustrated with Meilo So's energetic watercolors. The pictures are gorgeous, but as in Beauty of the Beast, the crowded pages sometimes barely leave room for the words, or for imagining what the words suggest. Still, the gift-book design does encourage browsing. Teachers and librarians will want to use this millennial volume with Prelutsky's Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983) to introduce our best children's poets and encourage children to write about their immediate experience. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

For this companion to The 20th Century Children's Book Treasury, Prelutsky combed more than 4000 poetry volumes to select 211 poems by 137 poets. His sampling includes established poets like Langston Hughes, Shel Silverstein and e.e. cummings, but, to Prelutsky's credit, not necessarily their best-known works. The overriding mood is rollickingly upbeat, uncharacteristic for a form renowned for its adeptness at expressing moments of grief or loneliness. Hats off to So (The Beauty of the Beast, with Prelutsky), who visually holds the anthology together. Her people are engagingly limber, her animals unmatched: for instance, she evokes the fitful movements of a squirrel with a few calligraphic strokes, and her wet-on-wet technique suggests the fluffy texture of a kitten's fur or the speed of leaping salmon. In one spread, she ingeniously accommodates eight bug poemsÄfrom poets as diverse as Ogden Nash and Valerie Worth; the poems themselves appear to flit about a central image of two children nearly hidden in a field of wildflowers. She connects four stand-alone poems in another spread ("A Hippopotamusn't" by J. Patrick Lewis and "The Click Clacker Machine" by Donna Lugg Pape are two of them) with a unified palette of pinks and lavenders. Its unvarying tone notwithstanding, this eye-catching collection is likely to lure both future fans of verse and poetry devotees. All ages. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Gr 1-6-This volume, described in Prelutsky's introduction as representative of the "scope and variety of children's verse produced in the twentieth century," contains 211 poems by 137 poets. Some are well known, such as Shel Silverstein, Karla Kuskin, and Prelutsky himself. Some have written mainly for adults, e.g., John Updike, Langston Hughes, and e. e. cummings. Lesser-known and more recently published poets, such as Janet Wong, Deborah Chandra, and Nikki Grimes, are included as well. The greatest number are from the United States. While all of these selections have been published elsewhere, the format and illustrations in this collection give them new life. Poems are presented in unlabeled small groups that cross each double-page spread. Some of these groupings are clearly understood from their content, such as those on the seasons or on insects. Others require readers to think about common threads or themes as they read and study the illustrations, such as the cluster of poems on ways of creating. In another grouping, Prelutsky pairs poems of bats and mice with a poem about creatures who see better at night, calling attention to their shared physical characteristics. So's watercolor illustrations are, by turn, impressionistic, childlike, silly, and serious, as called for by the tone of the poems featured. Sometimes the artist creates one unifying illustration across the spread, such as a cityscape at night that features all types of light found in the group of poems presented there. A splendid collection.-Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



"We Are Plooters" We are Plooters, We don't care, We make messes Everywhere, We strip forests Bare of trees, We dump garbage In the seas. We are Plooters, We enjoy Finding beauty To destroy, We intrude Where creatures thrive, Soon there's little Left alive. Underwater, Underground, Nothing's safe When we're around, We spew poisons In the air, We are Plooters, We don't care. -Jack Prelutsky Copyright (c) 1993 by Jack Prelutsky. Used by permission of the author, who controls all rights. "Where Are You Now?" When the night begins to fall And the sky begins to glow You look up and see the tall City of light begin to grow -- In rows and little golden squares The lights come out. First here, then there Behind the windowpanes as though A million billion bees had built Their golden hives and honeycombs Above you in the air. -Mary Britton Miller From All Aboard by Mary Britton Miller. Copyright (c) 1958 by Pantheon Books, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Pantheon Books, a division of Random House, Inc. Excerpted from The 20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury by Jack Prelutsky All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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