THE GOOF WHO INVENTED HOMEWORK

A collection of 36 poems that paint a funny, affectionate, and sometimes poignant portrait of a school year. All the poems can stand alone but they are loosely related by repeated details, such as a runaway rooster and a poet/custodian. The majority of the selections are humorous. Some of the best, such as the title poem, are written in dialogue and capture children's voices and concerns authentically. ``Bonkers'' is a hilarious litany of excuses that drive the teacher crazy, ``Thanksgiving'' takes a wry look at would-be disasters that turn out all right in the end, and ``The Book That Made Danny Cry'' is a fitting tribute to the power of a good read. That last poem and others balance the collection with a more serious view of life, such as ``Back Away! Back Away!'' about a terminally ill classmate, and ``Four Wishes'' about a city kid's yearning for wide open spaces. Some of the poems are stronger than others, but this is an effective and welcome collection of verse, ably supported by Brunkus's fine and funny black-and-white drawings. (Poetry. 7-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1927-2

Page Count: 74

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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POCKET POEMS

With an eye toward easy memorization, Katz gathers over 50 short poems from the likes of Emily Dickinson, Valerie Worth, Jack Prelutsky, and Lewis Carroll, to such anonymous gems as “The Burp”—“Pardon me for being rude. / It was not me, it was my food. / It got so lonely down below, / it just popped up to say hello.” Katz includes five of her own verses, and promotes an evident newcomer, Emily George, with four entries. Hafner surrounds every selection with fine-lined cartoons, mostly of animals and children engaged in play, reading, or other familiar activities. Amid the ranks of similar collections, this shiny-faced newcomer may not stand out—but neither will it drift to the bottom of the class. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-525-47172-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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DINOSAURS GALORE!

A dozen familiar dinosaurs introduce themselves in verse in this uninspired, if colorful, new animal gallery from the authors of Commotion in the Ocean (2000). Smiling, usually toothily, and sporting an array of diamonds, lightning bolts, spikes and tiger stripes, the garishly colored dinosaurs make an eye-catching show, but their comments seldom measure up to their appearance: “I’m a swimming reptile, / I dive down in the sea. / And when I spot a yummy squid, / I eat it up with glee!” (“Ichthyosaurus”) Next to the likes of Kevin Crotty’s Dinosongs (2000), illustrated by Kurt Vargo, or Jack Prelutsky’s classic Tyrannosaurus Was A Beast (1988), illustrated by Arnold Lobel, there’s not much here to roar about. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-58925-044-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2005

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