Monday, April 07, 2008

Nonfiction Monday -- Nonfiction Poetry

The World's Greatest: Poems
by J. Patrick Lewis
illustrated by Keith Graves
Chronicle Books, 2008
review copy purchased at my favorite independent seller of children's books, Cover to Cover

Monumental Verses
by J. Patrick Lewis
published by the National Geographic Society, 2005
review copy purchased at my favorite independent seller of children's books, Cover to Cover

Here are two of my new favorite poetry books. They are also two of my new favorite nonfiction books!

Kids love the Guinness Book of World Records. In The World's Greatest: Poems, J. Patrick Lewis has picked 25 world records as the topics of poems as widely varied as the styles of the poems: from the dumbest dinosaur to the most live scorpions eaten by a human, and from acrostics to limericks (aptly enough, the limerick is for the poem about the biggest potato). I dedicate the poem "The Most Plates Spinning" (Dave Spathaky, London, England, 108 plates, November 23, 1992) to kindergarten and first grade teachers everywhere.

Monumental Verses is a trip around the world to see (in gorgeous, full-color, National Geographic photographs) thirteen of the world's greatest human-made landmarks. They are as ancient as Stonehenge and Easter Island and Machu Picchu, and as modern as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Empire State Building. Again, J. Patrick Lewis treats the reader to a variety of poetic forms including three that match the monument -- a large T-shaped slab of prose poetry for Stonehenge, a pyramid of poetry for The Great Pyramid of Cheops, and a twisting S of poetry for the Great Wall of China.

Here are some bonus extras:

The official J. Patrick Lewis website.

World's Greatest: Poems reviewed at 7-Imp.

Integrating science and social studies with J. Patrick Lewis' A World of Wonders: Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme at Miss Rumphius.

Elaine's Wild Rose Reader interview with J. Patrick Lewis.

The Nonfiction Monday Round Up is at Picture Book of the Day.


  1. I must get myself a copy of Monumental Verses. It sounds terrific.

    Thanks so much for linking to my post on A World of Wonders. You might be interested to know that I kicked off National Poetry Month with a post on using The World's Greatest Poems in the classroom. You can find it here.

  2. Mary Lee,

    It's impossible to keep up with all the poetry books that J. Patrick Lewis publishes. I drove to the book shop on Saturday and ordered four of his books, including THE WORLD'S GREATEST: POEMS. I already own more than thirty of his poetry books!

    I guess great minds must think alike. I also wrote about nonfiction poetry for Nonfiction Monday this week.

  3. Tricia, thanks for the bonus link! I KNEW I'd seen someone else's review of The World's Greatest Poems but it didn't come through on a Google blog search. You'll LOVE Monumental Verses.

    Elaine, my mind is honored to be in your mind's good company this week! I LOVE the monarch book you reviewed!


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