A collection of poems to start the school year off with a laugh.
These 15 poems don’t explore new territory, focusing on the usual suspects: homework, chewing gum, school supplies, teachers, class pets on the loose, boogers and cafeteria food, among others. While some rollick along, many suffer from scansion and meter issues. For instance, in “Better Than Baseball,” a young boy extols recess activities: “Yet none are nearly as cool for you / As lying in wet grass / Putting bugs and worms in your pockets / And bringing them back to class.” The worst issue with this collection, however, especially for beginning readers, is the dearth of punctuation. In the entire book, there are 13 end marks, not one of them a period, and just three commas. This makes them difficult to read, particularly aloud: “You’re going out of your mind / You’re terribly distressed / Then you walk in front of a mirror / You’ve forgotten to get dressed.” Woodruff’s watercolor-and–colored-pencil illustrations are a nice mix of spot, single- and double-page spreads. While they are amusing and certainly play up the gross-out and surprise factors, they also often give away the punch lines of the poems.
Stick with Prelutsky and Silverstein. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)