A debut collection of rhyming stories centers on the lives of children in an effort to both entertain and educate.
Cooper’s series of “quirky tales” relayed in this work range from dentures that talk by themselves to soap suds that cause a school’s cancellation and a list of overly strict recess rules. The protagonists are generally children or their parents, grandparents, or teachers, and the stories frequently resolve in a whimsical fashion. At the end of each poem there is a question for young readers and adults to reflect on and consider. There is a list of general questions at the end about the book as a whole as well as more in-depth questions for each story. The text is punctuated by black-and-white stock photographs, mostly of diverse children enacting the various events of each tale. There are intentional incidents of a poem’s rhyme scheme or meter changing in an effort to allow readers to identify switches in style. But this occasionally makes the work feel uneven. For example, on the very first page, the line “As the water came near, he showed no fear” is stuck between two sets of rhyming pairs, adding an extra line to the established number per stanza and throwing the verse off-balance. But the author, who is a retired school system reading supervisor, provides lively subject matter that should appeal to early readers, allowing for an enjoyable learning activity to be undertaken with adult supervision. The questions at the end of each poem and at the book’s conclusion are insightful, and they encourage youngsters to read deeper than they might have without guidance. This volume is equally valuable as a tool for teachers in presenting their lessons or for parents in helping to boost their children’s reading comprehension.
A fine work that should keep young readers engaged with fun and amusing subjects while providing a foundation for thoughtful reading practices.