WOULD NOT TAKE THE GARBAGE OUT
“Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout
Would not take the garbage out!
She’d scour the pots and scrape the pans,
Candy the yams and spice the hams,
And though her daddy would scream and shout,
She simply would not take the garbage out.
And so it piled up to the ceilings:
Coffee grounds, potato peelings,
Brown bananas, rotten peas,
Chunks of sour cottage cheese.
It filled the can, it covered the floor,
It cracked the window and blocked the door
With bacon rinds and chicken bones,
Drippy ends of ice cream cones…”
When I was a kid, I felt like no one in the world really understood how wretched it was to have to clean my bedroom. I was a reasonably tidy kid, however, there were so many more interesting things to do. I dreaded cleaning my room, and I’d put off cleaning the closet part for months at a stretch (to do so was life-risking). However, I distinctly remember the day that a teacher read a poem by Shel Silverstein about a little girl who wouldn’t take the garbage out.
The imagery of garbage piled to the ceiling was horrific, and it made me laugh hard, and although we can’t promise that reading funny poetry to your child will change their behavior, I never let my bedroom lapse after that. (well, at least until I was a teenager, but I had more pressing things on my mind. Boys, for instance.)
Because we are such lovers of poetry, and especially those that are hilarious, we’ve compiled a list of our ten favorite children’s poetry books. There are some old, some new, some classics and some that are silly. Now, not all of the poems are funny mind you, but the ones that are will definitely give you a good chuckle. As kids learn and grow introducing them to poetry teaches them about rhythm, rhyme, cadence and alliteration. As William Hazlitt said, “Poetry is the language which the heart holds with nature and with itself.”
But it isn’t just the literary aspect of poetry that makes the introduction needed, rather it is inherent touchstone of the gamut of human experience and emotion that the long tradition of poetry offers to kids. When they feel no one else understands, they can take solace in a poem that can articulate what they feel, be it humor, sorrow, joy or loss. A childhood that has been enriched with access to a vast selection of poetry books is one to be envied indeed.
A Writing Kind of Day: Poems For Young Poets
Poetry for Young People
Poems I Wrote When No One Was Looking
Alan Katz & Edward Koren
The Complete Book of Flower Fairies
Cicely Mary Barker
The Arrow Finds Its Mark: A Book of Found Poems
Georgia Heard & Antoin Guillope
A Child’s Garden of Verses
Robert Louis Stevenson & Tasha Tudor
Mother Goose Favorites
Neighborhood Odes: A Poetry Collection
Poetry is best when read aloud, so be sure to let the kids read the poems, discuss what they think that they mean, or read them to the kids. There’s a Shel Silverstein video below, and you can purchase any of the poetry books in this section of the site.