Here's one of my all time favorites: Ogden Nash's Zoo with gorgeous illustrations by Etienne Delessert. When I was a not-so-strapping young lad of 12 we moved from Long Island back to an apartment in New York City, a mere block from a library. It was there I "discovered" my favorite poet, Ogden Nash.
There's 54 poems about real and imaginary creatures in here, divided into 8 chapters, such as Creeps and Crawls and Tease the Cobra. Although these poems were written for magazines like The New Yorker and the Saturday Evening Post in the years between 1930 and 1971, none seem outdated (except for a reference to a Maidenform bra and the Andrews Sisters). Their wit and economy of means are classic. Here's The Mules
In the world of mules
There are no rules.
This poem got me thinking: maybe there is a rule for a mule. So I created this poem for my book mammalabilia
Voice of the mule: bray
Hue of the mule: bay
Fuel of the mule: hay
Rule of the mule: stay
The audience in Nash's book is not strictly for children, as the vocabulary ( a "gamboling lamb", or "a person's posterior") and the humor is often adult. But there are enough simple ones here to make a child smile, if not laugh out loud.
What's surprising to me is that Nash worshipped the same rhyme scheme, AABB or simply AA, in almost every poem. People sometimes compare my poems to Shel Silverstein, but I'd rather reside in Nashville.
27 minutes ago