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ENGLISH, FRESH SQUEEZED! by Carol Diggory Shields


by Carol Diggory Shields & illustrated by Tony Ross

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: April 1st, 2005
ISBN: 1-59354-053-1

The third in the BrainJuice series, this offering seeks to convey the parts of speech, grammatical rules and the principles of composition in 40 poems. It’s an interesting notion: As the prefatory note to her English teacher indicates, even avid readers frequently find the rules of the language downright painful, so why not render them into funny verse. The answer might possibly be that this verse is so light (approaching helium) that it’s hard to take seriously the very weighty concepts borne therein. Careful reading will reveal that there’s a lot of worthwhile information—the pair of poems on similes and metaphors lead one to the other nicely, and the poem on verb tense explains the past and future perfect extraordinarily well. But the verse itself is that lockstep rhyming doggerel that so crowds the universe of children’s poetry and is consequently all too easy to dismiss. Shields introduces topics at the top of the page by appropriate quotes from such sources as Twain, Shaw and The Chicago Manual of Style, but these luminaries are not exploited to their full capacity as companions to the primary content. There’s just not enough pulp in the glass. (Poetry. 9-12)