Every educator knows the bathroom pass is an escape route for students. While neither condemning nor condoning that...

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A FUNERAL IN THE BATHROOM

Dakos adds another collection to the poetry shelf, this one taking its inspiration from the school bathroom.

Every educator knows the bathroom pass is an escape route for students. While neither condemning nor condoning that behavior, Dakos’ poetry explores the many reasons kids might need that release: to get away from a bully, to chat with a friend, to cry about something happening at home, to celebrate a victory or agonize over a defeat and, of course, to use the toilet. Standouts among the silly poems include "Trapped!," about a boy stuck in a stall during recess and "The Bathroom Dance," which speaks for itself. The highlights of the serious offerings focus on telling secrets ("Blabbermouth") and divorce ("Crying in the Bathroom"). Many, while outwardly funny, challenge kids to delve a little deeper: “We were in the bathroom, / the bully and I. / He punched me, / I punched him back, / and that’s when he cried!” While there is some potty humor, Dakos keeps it from getting too disgusting, and several poems focus on good bathroom hygiene. Reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s drawings, Beech’s vignettes masterfully capture the essence of each poem, and children will be able to read his characters’ facial expressions and body language like an open book.

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8075-2675-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2011

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The poetry here is well-done, and although there is no real topical or stylistic cohesion, the assortment offers something...

CLIMBING SHADOWS

POEMS FOR CHILDREN

This collection of 20 poems inspired by the poet’s volunteer work in a kindergarten lunchroom is united by authorship; entries address a variety of topics and are expressed in multiple styles.

The subject matter is generally accessible and of interest, including family vignettes (“The Snow Is Melting”), feelings (“afterschool”), animals (“a spider way of thinking,” “Owl Secrets”), and toys (“My Cars Never Sleep”). Length and format vary too: “Little Yellow House” is only nine words long; others have several stanzas. Not all utilize traditional capitalization and punctuation. Some layouts are straightforward, left-justified and single- or double-spaced; others feature irregular spaces between lines or between phrases on the same line but are not quite concrete poetry. Figurative language is especially effective in “The Envelope,” a litany of ways a child thinks of their mother. Most read well out loud, with appropriate scansion and without the pitfall of forced rhyme. Derby’s sophisticated illustrations, done in watercolor, digital collage, and India ink, have a subdued tone and leave room for the imagination; some are simple, small vignettes on white space, while others feature gently washy backgrounds.

The poetry here is well-done, and although there is no real topical or stylistic cohesion, the assortment offers something for readers with varying preferences. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77306-095-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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In the hands of the right presenter, this book could lead to exciting aural experiences.

BOOM! BELLOW! BLEAT!

ANIMAL POEMS FOR TWO OR MORE VOICES

Kids love to make animal noises.

The 13 poems in this collection vary in style, but all rely heavily on accurate animal sounds made by mammals, reptiles, birds, insects, and fish. A “performance key” on the contents page gives instructions for the proper reading by “two or more readers.” The poems are printed primarily in two colors, each meant for a reader (or readers) to read alternately, with a third signifying unison. The last poem, “Forest Orchestra,” has a different pattern, explained on that page, and could lead to a culminating symphony of sounds. With an adult leader to direct, the poems could become part of a creative performance piece, and use as a home read-aloud could lead to playful adult-child interaction. The bold, digital illustrations have a painterly feel. “Rattlesnake’s Warning,” with its words printed in white and orange on a black double-page spread, is wonderfully enhanced by a coiled snake with mouth agape and two sharp fangs waiting. This poem is one of the more powerful, with its short verses: “By night, / I see your heat / as I slither / near your feet” punctuated by the “chhhhhh-chhhhhh-chhhhhh” sound of the rattle. Fascinating closing notes offer opportunities for caregivers to extend the instruction, but children aren’t likely to peruse these dense pages.

In the hands of the right presenter, this book could lead to exciting aural experiences. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62091-520-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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