The best-selling mother-daughter team selected 90 favorite rhyming poems for young people
in this new collection. The works, read by actress-singer-author Julie Andrews and author-editor-arts
educator Emma Walton Hamilton, are grouped into several themed categories contained on two CDs, along
with bonus material including paintings from the print version of this audio book.
The first CD contains the following categories: All Things Bright and Beautiful (nature poems),
Accentuate the Positive (ideas on optimism), Growing Up (childhood experiences), Bedtime Blessing
(sleepy time stories), and Talk to the Animals (look at wildlife). The second CD features poems
falling into these groups: Sea Fever (ocean life), Laughing Song (humorous poems), Leisure
(pleasurable activities), and The Wonderful World (various uplifting works).
Selected poets range from classic writers such as William Wordsworth and Emily Dickinson, to
modern writers such as Jack Prelutsky. Original poems by Andrews, Hamilton, and other family
members are included in the mix. Most of the poems contain simple messages, using basic words and
uncomplicated metaphors. With the exception of the Laughing Song selections, the poetry remains
serious in subject, though unerringly upbeat.
Andrews provides personal introductions to each of the categories with anecdotes about her
family life and notes about what an individual poem has meant to her. Although she reads some poems
and Hamilton reads others, occasionally they read together. In the case of "An Attempt at Unrhymed
Verse," they both read this comical poem separately in their own unique styles.
The actual collection of poems may delight some children with its innocent view of the world, but
the overly dramatic delivery of the works, soporific piano interludes, and cloyingly sweet
introductions seem better suited to youngsters from previous generations. Today’s high-tech, computer
savvy children who rock out to video games and watch action movies on high-definition television sets
might find that these "lullabies" lure them to sleep much too quickly.