Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pookie Aleera is not my boyfriend by Steven Herrick

This book is so so so so good.  Rush out and buy a copy, read it then pass it on to your best friend especially if your friend is in Grade 5 or 6 in a Primary school.

I have said this before but it needs repeating - the best verse novels are truly emotional stories made all the more powerful by how simple they seem and how quickly you can read them.  I love the way the emotions just seem to sneak up on you.

Rachel, Laura, Selina, Mick, Jacob, Pete and Cameron are all in Ms Arthur's Grade 6 class in a small country school somewhere in Australia - I imagine it might be Western NSW or Western Victoria.  Jacob has a brother called Alex, the school maintenance man is Mr Korsky and the class have regular visits from the local police constable Senior Constable Dawe (he is so funny) and of course there are assorted parents and the school Principal among the cast of characters.

Over the course of a term we read about the lives of these kids, their ups and downs, family celebrations and tragedies, friendships and hopes.  Each verse gives voice to a different character.  I love this form of story telling - it is just like solving a complex jigsaw puzzle.

This book has such an authentic Australian flavour with the birds, heat and sudden thunder storms but it also has a really up-to-date feel with references to ipads, iphones, facebook and SMART boards.

If you are looking for a fabulous book to read go out and find this book.  If you want to recommend a book to your teacher as a read-a-loud tell him or her about Pookie Aleera is not my boyfriend.  You might even find your class enjoy playing the game that led to the invention of Pookie Aleera.

I simply have to quote one whole verse - I just laughed so much when I read it!


Ms Arthur 
leads us into the library
and says
we have ten minutes
to choose a book to borrow
we can choose any book we like
including comics
a picture book
a graphic novel
even just a magazine
but, she says,
we're not allowed
to choose poetry.
She points to the back wall
where the poetry is filed
under non-fiction .821
and she repeats
any book but poetry

When we line up
to leave the library
I notice
Selina, Mick, Alex,
Rachel, Pete
and even Cameron
have chosen poetry books.

Ms Arthur checks out 
each book
without saying a word,
a satisfied look on her face.

If this book is not short listed for the CBCA awards for 2013 I will be utterly disappointed.

One more thing on behalf of all Teacher-Librarians I would like to thank Steven Herrick :
In the past twenty-five years, I've visited over three thousand schools to read my work and to talk to the students and teachers.  So, finally, I'd like to dedicate a book to all the people who've welcomed me into their school lives.
To the students : may all your days be sunny.
To the teachers : may all your students be smiling
To the librarians : may all your books be borrowed.

If I have not yet convinced you to read this book then check out this review...


‘His verse has the ability to instantly put you in someone else’s shoes with very few words.’Bookseller Publisher

‘The king of poetry for children is Steven Herrick. Herrick's poems … are so well balanced. On the one hand there's humour and light-heartedness; on the other there's depth and thoughtful care.’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘Steven Herrick has a wonderfully acute ear for the authentic voice of primary school children – their concerns, humour, emotional and intellectual journeys throughout the school year. ... Herrick's poetry is playful and insightful, funny and poignant.’ Magpies

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