Thursday, July 15, 2004

Almost Late to School: And More School Poems

Shields, Carol Diggory. 2003. ALMOST LATE TO SCHOOL: AND MORE SCHOOL POEMS. Ill. by Paul Meisel. New York: Dutton Children’s Books. ISBN 0525457437 [Suggested Grade Levels Pre K - 5]

Recess, jumping rope, catching the bus, passing notes, in all there are twenty-two poems of school life encompassing many favorite school activities. From the woes of the first day of school through presenting oral reports, show and tell, broken friendships and even a band teacher who needs to wear earplugs, these poems are delightful. There is the science fair project which clearly gives the steps of the scientific method in a creative way and will instruct one on the project of making a brother disappear. There are children solving math problems, and those needing to use the restroom, just waiting and praying for the end of class to come. There is the little boy sitting in detention just knowing that he was framed, while the after school bake sale fundraiser is going on outside. The closing poem is of two friends and would be performed best with two voices sharing the joys of this beautiful friendship.

Crafty, playful and very appealing to children, the illustrations aid in making this a very attractive and marketable book to children. Due to the child appeal, with its beautiful pictures and playful, easily identifiable child perspective poems, this book will do a great job at peaking a child’s interest in poetry and engaging the student. The rhyme patterns make it an enjoyable book to read out loud to a class, silently to oneself, or as a parent just before bedtime. The book is crafted in such a way that reading one or two poems at a time or reading the whole book is just as appealing. Each poem provides a great introduction or “ice-breaker” for a new activity in school life. These are also great tools for young readers to begin reading stanzas and rhyme patterns. There is humor included which will engage the older reader, as well. Whomever the audience, this book will accomplish its goal of introducing children to the wonderful world of poetry.


Filled with great poems to teach memorization tricks to young children, have the children pick a poem to memorize and perform for the class or at a language arts festival. These catchy poems are also quite useful as a transition tool.

This is a great book to use to introduce and teach rhyming words to young children with words like “me and be” or quiet and riot within the poems. The poems also make writing poetry more approachable for young wirters and are a great tool to use to introduce children to the opportunity to write their own poems.


Other books about school days:
Danneburg, Julie. FIRST DAY JITTERS. ISBN 1580890547
Poydar, Nancy. FIRST DAY HOORAY. ISBN 0823416305
By Kristi Mays

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