Twenty lighthearted poems imagine the goings-on at insect school.
From arrival to the end of the day, through lessons, lunch, and recess, Harrison places anthropomorphic, familiar insects in a school environment. Graceful and humorous, these short poems allude to typical behaviors. The termites eat everything; the crickets learn to hide and annoy; the school nurse, a mosquito, always wants to draw blood; and the stink bugs…stink. With deftly constructed rhyme and rhythm patterns, lively language, and alliteration, his poems have immediate appeal. They’re splendidly matched by whimsical cartoons that reward a second look. Bayless uses watercolor, ink, colored pencil, and digital media to portray the insect scholars and their teachers. These busy “bugs,” partially clothed in pants or skirts or shirts and sometimes shoes, are engaged in appropriate activities. A horsefly sadly contemplates the D- minus in Social Skills on his report card. A ladybug attempts to count a page filled with tiny aphids. A squad of insect cheerleaders acrobatically chants the school motto: “NEVER EAT A FRIEND AT SCHOOL!” And the grasshoppers complain: “It’s fine to eat / the farmer’s crop / but eating US / has got to stop!!” This entertaining new collection would pair nicely with the author’s Bugs: Poems about Creeping Things, illustrated by Rob Shepperson (2007), for classroom use.
A cheerful way to make a connection with the natural world. (Picture book/poetry. 5-10)