I like old clothes, / Hand-me-down clothes, / Worn outgrown clothes, / Not-my-own clothes. . . . Originally published by Knopf in 1976 (with illustrations by Jacqueline Chwast), this poem—an exuberant celebration of hand-me-down clothes—is just as relevant and accessible today as it was over 30 years ago. Children's Poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman offers a bouncy, fun-to-read-aloud text and a refreshingly agreeable, resourceful protagonist who likes old clothes for their "history" and "mystery." Illustrator Patrice Barton brings new, contemporary life to the poem, with an adorable little girl and her younger brother playing dress-up, making crafts, and happily treasuring their hand-me-downs.
"I like old clothes,/ Hand-me-down clothes,/ Worn outgrown clothes,/ Not my own clothes." Former U.S. children's poet laureate Hoberman's poem, first published in 1976, holds up nicely; families are still trading bags of too-small clothes, and children are still enjoying hand-me-downs ("And party dresses/ Not quite new,/ Not quite in style,/ I like them, too"). Barton's (Mine!) spreads couldn't be any warmer or fuzzier. Her mixed-media scenes incorporate images of patterned fabrics for the clothes, and soft pencil lines and blurry edges give the artwork a painted feel. A girl in overalls and sneakers just the sort of girl one might imagine having a sensible attitude toward secondhand apparel is pictured in her room with her younger brother, trying on a small marching band uniform (first spotted in a store window on the title page) and vamping in a pair of long black gloves. The poem stays in one register, exploring the theme from several angles, without any real narrative arc; it's written more just for the joy of the rhymes and the rhythm. Ages 5 8.