About Jack Prelutsky
“I have always enjoyed playing with words, but I had no idea that I would be a writer. There was a time when I couldn’t stand poetry! . . . When I was a young man, I discovered poetry again and it changed my life.”—Jack Prelutsky
Jack Prelutsky has written more than 40 books of verse and has compiled a number of poetry anthologies. His anthology, The 20th-Century Children’s Poetry Treasury, includes 211 wonderful poems that represent the best the century has to offer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
For years, Jack Prelutsky’s inventive poems have inspired legions of children to fall in love with poetry. His outrageously silly poems have tickled even the most stubborn funny bones, while his darker verses have spooked countless late-night readers. His award-winning books include Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast, The Dragons Are Singing Tonight, The Random House Book of Poetry for Children, and The Beauty of the Beast.
While attending a Bronx, New York, grade school, Prelutsky took piano and voice lessons and was a regular in school shows. Surprisingly, Prelutsky developed a healthy dislike for poetry due to a teacher who “left me with the
impression that poetry was the literary equivalent of liver. I was told it was good for me, but I wasn’t convinced.”
In his early twenties, Prelutsky spent six months drawing imaginary animals in ink and watercolor. One evening, he wrote two dozen short poetry verses to accompany each drawing. A friend encouraged him to show them to an editor, who loved his poems (although not his artwork!) and urged him to keep writing. Prelutsky listened and he is still busy writing.
Jack Prelutsky lives on Mercer Island in Washington with his wife, Carolynn.
THE 20TH-CENTURY CHILDREN’S POETRY TREASURY
“A splendid collection.”—Starred, School Library Journal
“Teachers and librarians will want to use this millennial volume with Prelutsky’s Random House Book of Poetry for Children to introduce our best children’s poets and encourage children to write about their immediate experience.”—Booklist
THE RANDOM HOUSE BOOK OF POETRY FOR CHILDREN
“A generous collection with a distinctly upbeat tone, this gives a taste of the best poets writing for children over the last several decades. Lobel’s drawings imbue the whole with action and graphic images as inventive as the verse. Successfully geared to meet home, school, and library needs.”—Starred, Booklist
About Marjorie Priceman
In the age of Mapquest and global-positioning systems, I still love the Rand McNally road atlas. The whole, crazy country is contained between its two covers. The strange place names and geographical quirks, the weirdly shaped states–as well as the orderly square ones. The fact that you can plot a trip from here to anywhere and get there eventually.
Picture books, I think, can be a thrifty form of travel. Without leaving the house you can cross a continent, venture out to sea (or under it), go back in time or into space. How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the U.S.A. was my attempt to write a sequel to How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World that didn't just repeat the same formula in a new locale with a different dessert.
This time, I began with a recipe. This time, the baker has all the ingredients–but is lacking the bowl, spoons, and other cooking tools to complete the cherry pie. The result is part road trip, part tutorial–a "scenic" jaunt around the U.S.A., if not exactly the shortest route.
I harkened back to the family vacations of my youth. In the backseat of the Chevy Malibu, counting cows or playing tic-tac-toe, stopping at all the roadside attractions. Scenic overlooks! Snack bars! Petting Zoos! Souvenirs!
We visited historic sites, museums and monuments, planetariums and movie studios, national parks and amusement parks. We went to the seashore and drove up at least one snow-topped mountain in summer. From the car windows, we saw farms, forests, big cities and small towns, oil refineries, skyscrapers, and bridges.
But we also toured the symbols of American industry–Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Corning Glass factory. We volunteered for quality control at the Hershey Chocolate works. We panned for "gold" at Knott's Berry Farm.
The book attempts to tell kids where stuff comes from (aside from Wal-Mart, or China) and how our natural resources are turned into everything we use in our daily lives. How a plastic spoon or toy starts out as crude oil from deep underground, or the raw materials for glass are found in the sand on a beach. There is a very subtle message on recycling (see if you can find it), but that is not the purpose of this book. Of course, one hopes that as kids learn that real trees, mountains, and earth are used up to make common household items, that will help them understand the importance of conservation.
Although its purpose is to inform, I've tried to include enough oddball humor and detours along the road to prevent it from being just another "educational" vacation (we've all had those). In the end, the task at hand–collecting the materials to make the tools to bake the cherry pie–is also an excuse to travel this amazing, captivating country, an expansive and surprising America that no 32-page book can ever hope to capture or contain.