I came across The Random House Book of Poetry (1983) when I was checking out as much as I could from the library from Arnold Lobel. Officially, it is a collection from both old and newer poets, as edited by the Children’s Poet Laureate, Jack Prelutsky, and just illustrated by Arnold Lobel, but since it’s about half illustrations, I thought we’d take it. It’s not the first time I have seen this book. I grew up with a copy on the shelf. I doubt if my mother ever read any of it to me, poetry not being one of her things. I also highly suspect that my aunt had bought it for us, as poetry is one of her things. So I was going in with a pretty blank slate.
I love this book. I would recommend it for every children’s library, including home collections. The choices are spot-on, and my eight-year-old was engaged while his older sister was more than fine with reading it to him when I was otherwise engaged. The illustrations are soft and classic, just like we have come to expect from Lobel. It is a superb introduction to poetry and a great book to read out to your children from the earliest ages.
You can’t get much more glowing than that.