I Am the Book
compliled by Lee Bennett Hopkins
This is a book about books, presented as an anthology of poems. Imagine a youngster discovering through the poems what a book can be. The poems are written at a second grade level. The vocabulary is simple and the poetry is not complex either.
I Am A Book — the title of the book, is also the title of one of the poems. “I’ll be your friend,” the poem tells the reader. “I’ll plant in you a spring seedling….i am the book/ You are needing.” What a wonderful image — a book as a friend.
Jill Corcoran’s poem, “Pirates,” turns the reader into a pirate swashbuckling through the pages of a book. The poet of “What Was That” finds that the excitement of reading leaves her with “A breathless thought/ Inside my head.” Read Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem and you will agree that “Anyone befriended again and again/ By a well loved book” is rich.
Such an embarrassment of riches. The poems can be read aloud by an adult, but the ease of comprehension makes it a good book for the reader to explore poetry by herself. Karen Winnick’s poem leads with this thought:
Early in the morning
dog, book and me
spend quiet moments
just we three.
Just the reader and the book of poems. The illustration to that poem is a large book thick enough to house the dog and the reader between the pages. The bold, colorful illustrations throughout wonderfully complement the text.
The selection ends with a goodbye to the book:
Closing the cover
A keeper of a book.