Kids Books

The books shown here are in print and available from any bookshop or from,, or any other on-line book dealer.
Poems by X. J. Kennedy
For ages 8 to 12
Tradewind Books, 2010
ISBN 1-896580-44-0
Hardcover, 96 pages

A big brace of sprightly verse about cities and the kids who live in them.  Prize-winning Canadian children’s book artist Philippe Béha supplies a flamboyant color illustration for every poem.

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By X. J. Kennedy
A novel for ages 8 to 12
Front Street / A division of Boyds Mills, 2005
ISBN 1-932425-35-7
Paperback, 176 pages

A new reprint of a fantasy first published in 1983, full of laughs and high suspense. When twins Tim and Verity set out to rescue their missing grandparents, their adventures take them to another world, where they must combat sinister Raoul Owlstone and his army of stone owls. Luckily, they have friends: Lew Ladybug, a tiny detective, powerful Fardels Bear, and prophetic Shelley Snail. Under option to be a movie. Some libraries report a run on this title when kids ask for more books like Harry Potter!

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Knee Deep in Blazing Snow KNEE-DEEP IN BLAZING SNOW: Growing up in Vermont
Poems by James Hayford
Chosen by X. J. Kennedy & Dorothy M. Kennedy
Illustrated by Michael McCurdy
Wordsong / a division of Boyds Mills, 2005
ISBN 1-59078-338-7
Hardcover only, 62 pages

Nobody wrote better poems of Vermont life than the late James Hayford, beloved in his home state and too little known elsewhere. “Distilled genius,” says J. Patrick Lewis. This book collects the ones we think children will go for, arranged by the four seasons: about such things as nighttime milking, swims in a secret pond, the bliss of putting on snow-soaked socks warmed on a radiator. Michael McCurdy, widely acclaimed for his wood engravings and scratchboard work, supplies 27 black-and-white illustrations of starkly detailed beauty. Photograph of Hayford, biographical sketch, and introduction by the Kennedys.

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exploding_gravy EXPLODING GRAVY: Poems to Make You Laugh
Poems by X. J. Kennedy,
Illustrated by Joy Allen
Little, Brown, April 1st 2002
For ages 6 to 106
ISBN 0-316-38423-2
Hardcover only, 128 pages
$16.95, in Canada $23.95At last: a big fat collection of Kennedy’s nonsense poems for kids, the cream of a quarter-century crop. Included are all the favorites from the earlier collections One Winter’s Night in August, The Phantom Ice Cream Man, Did Adam Name the Vinegarroon? and Ghastlies Goops & Pincushions, with the stuff besides. Joy Allen supplies nutty pictures throughout.
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By X. J. Kennedy,
Pictures by Graham Percy
Philomel Books (a division ofPenguin Putnam), January 2002
For ages 4 to 8 (or higher)
ISBN 0-399-23428-4
Hardcover, 32 pages in full color, 9 x 11″
$16.99, in Canada $24.99

Elefantina aspires to be a figure skater, but there’s no ice in the jungle where she lives. The tale of how this persistent girl elephant overcomes hardship, bests a jealous rival, and ends up doing a triple salchow in the worldwide Elympics is all told in infectuous verse. (This is a sister picture-book to the earlier Elympics, but it’s able to stand on its own.)

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elympics ELYMPICS
Poems by X. J. Kennedy,
Pictures by Graham PercyPhilomel Books (a division of
Penguin Putnam), 1999
For ages 4 to 8 (or higher)
ISBN 0-399-23249-4
Hardcover, 32 pages in full color, 9 x 11″
$15.99, in Canada $22.99

Competing in an elephant version of the Olympic games, Tristram, Trixie, Big Elmo, and other pachyderms try their skill at bobsledding, high diving, and other sports — with various degrees of success.

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By X. J. Kennedy
A novel for ages 8 to 12Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster), 1997
ISBN 0-689-81157-8
Hardcover, 173 pages
$16.00, in Canada $21.50

An other-worldly fantasy with laughs and high suspense. When giant killer bees invade the Land of the Moonflower and kidnap their half-brother, twins Tim and Verity set out on a chain of adventures that take them to a sinister school and surprising April Fool Isle. Backing them up are Lewis O. Ladybug, tiny detective, Fardels Bear, and a Shelley Snail, a pocket-sized prophet. This book carries on characters from Kennedy’s earlier fantasy, The Owlstone Crown, but the story is self-contained. Some libraries report a run on this title when kids ask for more books like Harry Potter!

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make_things_fly MAKE THINGS FLY:
Poems About the Wind
Edited by Dorothy M. Kennedy
Illustrated by Sasha Meret
Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster), 1998ISBN 0-689-81544-1
Hardcover only, 32 pages
$16.00, in Canada $21.50

While collecting poems for other anthologies, Dorothy noticed that whenever a poet writes about the wind the result is usually excellent. This anthology, a labor of love, gathers poems by A. A. Milne, Aileen Fisher, Russell Hoban, Karla Kuskin, Myra Cohn Livingston, Eve Merriam, Robert Louis Stevenson, and others. Sasha Meret’s energetic drawings bind the book together in a continuous whirl.

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knock_at_star KNOCK AT A STAR:
A Child’s Introduction to Poetry
Revised Edition
By X. J. and Dorothy M. Kennedy,
Illustrated by Karen Lee Baker
Little, Brown, 1999
For ages 8 to 12ISBN 0-316-48436-9 (hardcover)
ISBN 0-316-48800-3 (paperback)
xi + 180 pages
Hardcover $17.95, in Canada $23.95;
paperback $10.95, in Canada $14.95

An update of a much-honored book first published in 1982 and continuously in print ever since. It’s written for kids to read for themselves, introducing them in friendly fashion to the elements of poetry and different kinds of poems (limericks, parodies, graphic poems, found poems, haiku, and songs). Illustrated with 179 short and engaging poems, both funny and serious. “If any book can win young readers to poetry, this one can.” – School Library Journal.

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talking_like_rain TALKING LIKE THE RAIN:
A Read-to-me Book of Poems
Selected by X. J. and Dorothy M. Kennedy,
Illustrated by Jane Dyer.Ages 2 to 6 (but older kids like it too)
Little, Brown, 1992
ISBN 0-316-48889-5 (hardcover)
ISBN 0-316-38491-7 (paperback)
Hardcover, 96 pages, 9 x 12″
$19.95, in Canada $26.95
Paperback $9.95, in Canada $13.95

Poems to read aloud to small fry, sorted into categories such as Families, Just for Fun, Birds Bugs & Beasts, Rhymes & Songs, Magic & Wonder. Most of the favorite children’s poets are represented, and some poets you might not expect (e.g., Wallace Stevens). Copiously illustrated with beautifully old-fashioned-looking watercolors. An ALA Notable Book, a New York Times Best Children’s Book of the Year. “A perfect follow-up to Mother Goose.” – Booklist.

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Dorothy M. Kennedy, editor:

I Thought I’d Take My Rat to School: Poems from September to June, illustrated by Abby Carter (Little, Brown, 1983). Poems about school, from a child’s point of view. $16.95.

By X. J. Kennedy:

Ghastlies, Goops and Pincushions, illustrated by Ron Barrett (McElderry Books, 1989). Screwball nonsense verse. $12.95.

The Beasts of Bethlehem, with full color drawings by Michael McCurdy (McElderry Books, 1992). Poems about the Nativity, after the legend that on Christmas Eve the animals can speak. $12.95

Uncle Switch: Loony Limericks, with full color illustrations by John O’Brien. All about a man who does everything backwards. $9.95

A few copies of other out-of-print children’s books linger on at and other booksellers’ sites. At this writing, has Uncle Switch for as little as $3.58, and Brats (used) for $2.50.

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