Forty-two poems, from a few lines to a couple of pages, about the British children and classroom experiences Wade knows as a teacher and lecturer in education. Wade is a true poet; his deftly chosen words cut to meaning's heart; their intriguing melodies contribute to sense as well as sound. Here are glimpses of cruelty--a child excluded from skipping rope tries to drown her tears in anger; portraits--""Jeremy Bates"" (who ""lives alone. . .all he's got is school"") wins friends by his pranks; and poignant truths--""Sticks and stones may break my bones,/but words can also hurt me. . .Cuts and bruises now have healed;/it's words that I remember."" Humor surfaces often, as does an ironical view of the classroom: e.g., ""News,"" about a child who writes the same brief words each day on command while making up splendid stories of which the teacher knows nothing. The title image refers to chestnuts; ""secret as imagination. . .nuggets for polishing. . .poems, varied/and irresistible. . ."" And so these poems are. Somewhat more difficult than Livingston's There Was a Place (1988), these are better written and have a similar appeal. The British setting should not be a difficulty to students capable of reading them, except for ""Code Shoulder,"" where letters represent words: ""'L.O.' Z.I."" (with ""Z,"" of course, being pronounced ""zed""). Good, realistic pen drawings.