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  • Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young
  • Selected by Jack Prelutsky
    Illustrated by Marc Brown
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780394872186
  • Our Price: $19.95
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Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young

Selected by Jack PrelutskyAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Jack Prelutsky
Illustrated by Marc BrownAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Marc Brown

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First published in 1986 and just as fresh and relevant today, this widely acclaimed, child-friendly poetry anthology is now being reissued with a striking new jacket. In his introduction to this book Jim Trelease, bestselling author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, writes, “No one better recognizes the essence of the child-poetry connection than poet and anthologist Jack Prelutsky. . . . Here are more than 200 little poems to feed little people with little attention spans to help both grow. Marc Brown’s inviting illustrations add a visual dimension to the poems, which further engage young imaginations.” The poems are by 119 of the best-known poets of the 20th century.

This book has been selected as a Common Core State Standards Text Exemplar (Grades K-1, Poetry) in Appendix B.
Jack Prelutsky|Marc Brown

About Jack Prelutsky

Jack Prelutsky - Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young
“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.


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.


“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

“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 Marc Brown

Marc Brown - Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young

Photo © Christina Markris Brown

“The most interesting—and the funniest—things happen in real life.”—Marc Brown


Marc Brown is the renowned illustrator of Judy Sierra's Wild About Books and ZooZical, but is best known worldwide as the creator of Arthur the aardvark, the star of many picture books and the five-time Emmy Award-winning TV show. He has once again drawn on his love of American folk art and his time living at Pilot Hill Farm with peacocks, otters, cows, goats, chickens, and pigs to inspire his rich and brilliantly hued paintings in Wild About You! He lives in New York City and on Martha's Vineyard with his wife, artist and psychologist Laurie Krasny Brown, and their cats, Lola and Romeo. You can visit him at MarcBrownStudios.com.
Praise | Awards


“All truly easy to read aloud.”—The Horn Book Magazine

“Bound to develop an appreciation for poetry at a very young age.”—School Library Journal

“Parents will discover it is as much fun to read as it is for the little ones to hear.”—Chicago Tribune

“Marc Brown’s pictures of children and animals, each lovingly depicted, convey the universal childhood exuberance found in each rhyme.”—Boston Sunday Globe

A Horn Book Fanfare Honor Book

A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year


WINNER 1986 Library of Congress Children's Books of the Year
WINNER 1986 Association for Childhood Education International Books for Children Bibliography
WINNER 1986 Booklist Books for Youth Editors' Choice
WINNER 1986 School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
WINNER 1986 Horn Book Fanfare
Reader's Guide|About the Book|Discussion Questions

About the Book

Dear Parents,

A long time ago, when I was a little boy, years before I went to school, my mother read to me. I loved listening to fairy tales like Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and Hansel and Gretel, I loved books like The Little Engine that Could, but most of all, I loved poems. There was something special about rhyme and meter that sunk in and became part of me. I have no doubt that my lifelong love of literature grew out of those early precious moments with my mother.

Still, my mother only knew a few poems by heart and, except for a Mother Goose collection and Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, we had no books that contained more than one or two poems. Also, we didn’t have a car, and the library was a very long walk away, so we were seldom able to go there. I sometimes wished that my family owned a giant book of poems written especially for me.

That’s what I tried to do by creating Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young–put together an anthology of delightful poems for children from ages six months or so, to six years or so. Although it includes many old favorites, I also combed through hundreds and hundreds of books to find lesser known, delightful little gems. The poems are on themes that very young children can relate to, such as nature, bedtime, animals, weather, food, the world of make-believe, and of course, children’s own thoughts and feelings. Many of the poems mimic the experiences children have as they discover the world around them.

The tips that follow are designed to help you share these poems with even the youngest child. These are the early building blocks to a lifetime of reading and special memories that your child will remember forever!


Jack Prelutsky

About the Guide

Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young is a vibrant anthology compiled by America’s favorite children’s poet and anthologist, Jack Prelutsky. He has selected more than 200 poems for every moment a young child encounters. Each poem is brought to life in the bright, playful illustrations of award-winning artist Marc Brown.

Discussion Guides

1. The first few years of a child’s life are extremely important to their emotional and intellectual growth. Reading to your child during these vital years is an essential tool to provide a nurturing and language-enriched environment. In Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young, I have selected short poems with wonderful sounds to keep even the youngest child entertained while acknowledging their short attention spans.

2. Make reading a daily practice–a special time for both of you to look forward to. It could be during the afternoon to provide quiet quality time, or perhaps right before bedtime to calm the child after an active day. Find a special place in your home to sit together while you read–snuggling together while listening to a parent read makes the child feel safe, loved, and happy.

3. Read through the whole book to become familiar with the poems before choosing which ones to read to your child. This will help you pick the perfect poem that relates to the day, the weather, or an upcoming event–for example, read a poem about animals before visiting the zoo.

4. Choose rhythmic poems and vary your tone to keep the attention of very young children. While they may not understand the words yet, they will respond to the sounds. As your child gets older, begin to encourage your child to repeat the words you read to them. Point out the pictures that relate to what you are reading. If they start enjoying a particular poem you may look into other books by that poet.

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