Laughing Crocodiles
Antón Pirulero

Book Descrip­tion

This over­size anthol­ogy, with vibrant and orig­i­nal illus­tra­tions, includes poetry from the oral tra­di­tion and hon­ors poets from var­i­ous Spanish-speaking coun­tries or regions.

Each sec­tion opens with a poem to the coun­try or region. This is fol­lowed with a poem about a poet –as a way of mak­ing chil­dren aware that poetry is the prod­uct of poets which we respect and honor. Selec­tions from the spe­cific poet com­pletes the sec­tion. The coun­tries and poets included are:

Puerto Rico is rep­re­sented by poems by

  • Isabel Freire de Matos

Méx­ico is rep­re­sented by poems by

  • Amado Nervo

Guatemala is rep­re­sented by poems by

  • Hum­berto Ak’abal

Cuba is rep­re­sented by poems by

  • Dora Alonso

Lati­nos are cel­e­brated through poems by

  • Ernesto Galarza

Author’s Note

I like to say that “poetry is the skin of beauty”, “La poesía es la piel de la belleza” and I try to find the words to inspire children to see poetry, feel it, and fall in love with it. When I was growing up in Spain, I attended a school (The Teresianas Sisters) in which during the classes devoted to sewing, drawing and anything else that didn’t require silence, the teacher would ask a student to come in front of the class and read a story, poetry or a play. This, she said, would help the mind to concentrate in a manual work.

Because I had a good voice and I liked to be involved in theatre, I was frequently chosen to be that “reader”. Most of the time I was given the text to read, but sometimes, the techer was so busy  (we used to be 45 to 50 students per class) that she would just say: “read what you like”  –and so I did. I fell in love with Federico García Lorca, because my father introduced me to his poetry at home, and I used to bring my father’s poetry Anthology to school, in case I had the chance to read from them…which it was the case many times.   That book “The 100 Best Poems in Spanish Language” has since travelled with me everywhere, and now, lives on my shelves at home in San Francisco.

Alma Flor Ada and I have pub­lished a series of seven antholo­gies of poetry in Span­ish as part of the Cielo abierto Series: Gor­rión gor­rión, La rama azul, El Verde limón, Dulce es la sal, Nuevo día, Huer­tos de Coral and Ríos de lava. We are delighted to have included there poetry from the best poets from the Spanish-speaking world.

Recently we have pub­lished a series of books of rhymes from the oral tra­di­tion in bilin­gual edi­tions, in order that Eng­lish speak­ers can also get to know and enjoy our folk­lore: ¡Pío Peep! and MuuMoo are col­lec­tions of rhymes. Merry Navi­dad is a col­lec­tion of vil­lan­ci­cos or Christ­mas car­ols, and Ten Lit­tle Puppies/Diez per­ri­tos a book inspired on a tra­di­tional pop­u­lar rhyme.

The four poetry antholo­gies of Gate­ways to the Sun / Puer­tas al sol, in par­al­lel edi­tions in Eng­lish and Span­ish are another con­tri­bu­tion in the effort to make poetry acces­si­ble to all chil­dren. The beau­ti­ful pre­sen­ta­tion of these books, where the artis­tic illus­tra­tions are a wor­thy com­pan­ion to the poems gives both Alma Flor and myself immense satisfaction.