Yes this is a funny book but it is also a book for intelligent and sensitive readers. You will laugh (a lot) but you may also stop to think which is part of why I enjoy reading poetry. This book is a must buy addition for any school library.
Chris Harris is a television producer working on shows like Top Gear. Lane Smith is the perfect illustrator for this generous anthology. His work is more than decoration. He adds to the fun and meaning of every poem.
Here are two of the more sensitive poems that I like:
The Valleys shape the Mountains
The valleys shape the mountains
The shadow shapes the crescent moon
The chill of late December
Shapes the warmth we feel in June.
So next time that you're crying,
Just remember this small rhyme;
Your sadness shapes the happiness
You'll feel again in time.
I'm Shy on the Outside
I'm shy on the outside, but inside my head?
I'm not at all shy - I'm outgoing instead.
I'm chatty, I'm witty, I'm hilarious,
Funny and friendly and downright gregarious.
Ask me about me - I'll say, "I'm a cut-up!
Sometimes? I can't get get me to shut up."
Even though out here I'm minimal-worded,
Deep down inside? I am so extroverted!
I'm the life of the party here under my skin,
So keep knocking -
Someday I might let you in.
In so many classrooms teachers use the form acrostic as a way to have students create a simple poem. In I'm Just no Good at Rhyming you will find the perfect anti - acrostic poem. It made me laugh and laugh.
L is for looking out for others.
O is for Open heartedness.
R is for -
Hey! There's no "R" in LOVE"!
I know, but I thought maybe I could that I'm for Respecting -
No! No! No! There is no "R" in "LOVE"!! Get outta here, R! Go on, git!
Okay that's more like it. Now let's keep going.
Another clever inclusion is the poem that references the work of the famous American poet Robert Frost.
Here is the final verse from the original:
Image source: http://greatkidbooks.blogspot.com/2018/04/im-just-no-good-at-rhyming-by-chris.html
There are so many funny touches in this book. There is a list of poems that didn't make it into the book such as "I'm N-N-N-Not scared of G-G-G-Ghosts (I'm just C-C-C-Cold)" and "Dust! 482 lines About the Most Incredible Thing in the World." Also check out the page numbers and then hunt for the poem that explains why so many pages are missing. You do need to read this book from the beginning through to the end because several poems evolve such as The Door. One more thing, do take the time to read the dedication page - it's such fun!
If you need a performance poem take a look at IF YOU EVER HAVE TO MEMORIZE A POEM OF TWENTY LINES OR LONGER AND DELIVER IT TO YOUR CLASS, THEN THIS IS A PRETTY GOOD CHOICE. It's on page 15.
Here is the cover of the paperback edition.
Huge thanks to a friend of mine who loaned me this wonderful book from her school library. I have been looking at it in shops for months and months wondering if I really did need this book for my home collection - the answer (now I have spent several hours with this book) is a resounding YES!
In the storied tradition of Nash, Lear, and Dr. Seuss, Harris joins forces with Smith to present over 100 original poems and illustrations dedicated to having some serious fun. Kirkus Star Review
There is plenty of humour with jokes and riddles (some deliberately unfair) and puzzles, including a poem to read backwards and a duel between the letters d and b. The title belies the range within however, there is so much more than nonsense here. This is also a collection which is full of love and hope, warmly perceptive about being a child and growing up and being a parent observing this happening. Books for Keeps