Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems

( 3 )

Overview

This Is Just to Say

If you’re looking for a nice happy book

put this one down and run away quickly

Forgive me sweetness and good cheer are boring

Inspired by William Carlos Williams’s famous poem ”This Is Just to Say,” Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine delivers a wickedly funny collection of her own false apology poems, imagining how tricksters really feel about the ...

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Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems

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Overview

This Is Just to Say

If you’re looking for a nice happy book

put this one down and run away quickly

Forgive me sweetness and good cheer are boring

Inspired by William Carlos Williams’s famous poem ”This Is Just to Say,” Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine delivers a wickedly funny collection of her own false apology poems, imagining how tricksters really feel about the mischief they make. Matthew Cordell’s clever and playful line art lightheartedly captures the spirit of the poetry. This is the perfect book for anyone who’s ever apologized . . . and not really meant it.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Levine models more than 40 poems after William Carlos Williams’s “This Is Just to Say,” taking its quasi-repentant tone to a whole new level (and sticking more closely to the format of the original than the poems in Joyce Sidman’s 2007 collection This Is Just to Say). Cordell’s pen-and-ink art is sprinkled with impish people, animals, and personified objects. Several poems reference nursery rhymes, literature, and fairy tales (“I, Rapunzel,/ and not the witch/ have lopped off/ my braid/ which/ you daily/ climbed/ to me/ Forgive me/ you’re not worth/ the pain/ in my scalp”), and Levine has fun with readers, too, mock-threatening those who skip around the book (“Forgive me/ I put the curse of the mummy/ on anyone/ who reads out of order”). Poetry fans fine-tuning their sense of sarcasm need look no further. Ages 6–9. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. Illustrator’s agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Mar.)
Wall Street Journal
“Gleeful false-apology poems. Taking as her model William Carlos William’s poem about purloined plums, “This Is Just to Say,” Ms. Levine has devised verses written from the point of view of any number of unrepentant malefactors. Matthew Cordell’s comic drawings leaven the mordant wit.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“The collection overall possesses appealing irreverence and vitality. The open and breezy format adds accessibility, with each spread offering one or two of the terse verses offset by Cordell’s humorous art, monochromatic, wittily scrawled images often containing their own exclamations or sound effects.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Praise for Writing Magic:“A veritable treasure trove of advice and guidance for writers across a range of ages.”
Harold Underdown
Praise for Writing Magic:“Writing Magic is a great introduction to writing for children. The “voice” is upbeat and not condescending. It is clearly written, and includes examples when they are needed. As far as I know, there is nothing else like this available.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Readers will enjoy sharing the surprising selections, which will make them rethink what they thought they knew.”
Sacramento Bee
“Gail Carson Levine’s gleefully snarky poems in “Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It” go a long way in turning this high-minded literary form into a joy for youngsters – and their adults.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Praise for Writing Magic:“A veritable treasure trove of advice and guidance for writers across a range of ages.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Praise for Writing Magic:“A veritable treasure trove of advice and guidance for writers across a range of ages.”
Children's Literature - Peg Glisson
Using William Carlos Williams' famous non-apology poem to his wife, Levine carries his formatting to a humorous high with her spoofs of nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and school and family issues. There is even humor in the book's design, with the Table of Contents repeating "This is Just to Say" a multitude of times as if in the cloud, followed by several poems, and then the Introduction on page 18, to Levine's editor's chagrin: "Instead of at the beginning/I slipped/this introduction/in here/where/my editor excruciating loudly/screeched/ it does not belong/Forgive me/I also shredded/her red pencil and stirred/the splinters into her tea." All of the poems have a similar snarky tone as she takes on Jack and the Beanstalk ("I have chewed through the tall beanstalk/which/you recently/stepped off/way up there/Forgive me/I think/I'm worth/more than five magic beans"), and the prince in Rapunzel ("Forgive me/you're not worth/the pain/in my scalp"). The Little Engine that Could, Red Riding Hood and the Woodsman, Pinocchio, Jack and Jill, Beauty and the Beast are all fair game, as are siblings ("...I sanded off/your Barbie's face/...Forgive me/her beauty/was only/skin deep"), school, the dentist, neighbors ("...Forgive me/next time/pay me/for mowing"), as well as the reader who "may be jumping around/and skipping/pages/in this book/...Forgive me/I put the curse of the mummy/on anyone who reads out of order." Cordell's line drawings capture the mischievousness, mocking nature of the poems and sometimes aid in the understanding of the satire. Levine's introduction includes Williams' poem and explains its formatting; she encourages readers to try their hand in composing their own non-apologies. Teachers will find several uses for this book, from simple identification of the often-unnamed stories and rhymes to more complex writing assignments; but first, they should just share it for its fun play with words. The fun cover will help lead readers to this delightful book; and once opened, they will be totally drawn in. Reviewer: Peg Glisson
Kirkus Reviews
A playful primer on insincerity for budding poets. Taking as a springboard William Carlos Williams' famous pseudo-apology, "I have eaten / the plums / that were in / the icebox […] Forgive me …," Newbery Honor–winner Levine and illustrator Cordell unleash their darker sides in offering children several imaginative occasions for issuing false apologies. One glance at the volume's contents listing poems all taking Williams' title "This Is Just to Say," and readers instantly clue into Levine's glib project, which she then explains and invites others to imitate some 20 pages into the volume--much, she admits, to her editor's chagrin. While many a poet has spoofed Williams in similar fashion and chosen this found poem's simple form to introduce children to imagistic self-expression (Kenneth Koch most memorably), what distinguishes Levine's project is her clever use of the form to debunk famous children's icons like Snow White, Humpty Dumpty and the Little Engine that Could to literalize common expressions familiar to young readers. Cordell's signature spare line drawings prove particularly effective in conveying the latter, as in "While you were buying / doll dresses / I sanded off / your Barbie's face […] Forgive me / her beauty / was only / skin deep," while a girl comes screaming across the page spread as a delighted boy kneels intently over the scribbled-out, faceless doll. Macabre, sometimes downright mean, this mischievous collection is sure to engage the devilish side of readers of all ages. (Illustrated poems. 6 & up)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The collection overall possesses appealing irreverence and vitality. The open and breezy format adds accessibility, with each spread offering one or two of the terse verses offset by Cordell’s humorous art, monochromatic, wittily scrawled images often containing their own exclamations or sound effects."
Booklist
"Readers will enjoy sharing the surprising selections, which will make them rethink what they thought they knew."
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Praise for Writing Magic:“A veritable treasure trove of advice and guidance for writers across a range of ages.”
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Levine fashions her introduction to the topic after a poem by William Carlos Williams—"This Is Just to Say"—in which he 'fesses up to having eaten some plums from the icebox ("Forgive me/they were delicious/so sweet/and so cold"). The "false apology" poems (Levine's designation) include three four-line stanzas. The first states the offense; the second describes it; the third lays out the false apology (based on what came before). In a note on creating this novel poetic form, Levine advises readers: "Your poems should be mean, or what's the point?" Many of her unrhymed selections relate to fairy-tale or nursery-rhyme characters (Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel, Jack and Jill), and some have particularly wicked twists: Grandma leaves Red Riding Hood to the wolf; the bear goes over the mountain and dies in a landslide. Others involve intentionally hurtful actions against a sibling—sanding the face off a sister's Barbie doll; stealing a brother's lucky baseball cap just before the state playoff. Black-ink-and-pencil drawings—many of them bizarre images of people, animals, and unearthly beings—accompany the verses. While the collection is supposed to be funny and to appeal to readers' dark sense of justice, it largely comes off as distasteful and even disturbing. Forgive me, there's got to be a better way to engage this audience with poetry.—Susan Scheps, formerly at Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061787256
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/13/2012
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 328,545
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Gail Carson Levine

Gail Carson Levine thinks she can write poetry. Forgive her; the doctors say she’ll be sane again soon. She was born in New York City and shares a birthday with William Carlos Williams. Her first book for children, Ella Enchanted, won a Newbery Honor. Gail’s other books include A Tale of Two Castles; the New York Times bestsellers Ever and Fairest; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; The Wish; The Two Princesses of Bamarre; and the six Princess Tales books. She is also the author of the nonfiction book Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly and the picture books Betsy Who Cried Wolf! and Betsy Red Hoodie, both illustrated by Scott Nash. Gail and her husband, David, live in the Hudson Valley of New York State.

Matthew Cordell spilled a whole bottle of ink while drawing this book. Forgive him, white carpet is painfully boring. Matthew lives in the suburbs of Chicago with his wife, writer Julie Halpern, and their daughter, Romy. He is the author and illustrator of Trouble Gum and the illustrator of Toot Toot Zoom!, Mighty Casey, Righty and Lefty, and Toby and the Snowflakes, which was written by his wife.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 26, 2012

    Fun Devious poetry

    This is fun to read...anytime. if you have ever apologized when you did not want to, or better yet didnt mean it,you will love these poems. As she says in the explanation "you have to be mean if you are going to write false apology poems".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Quick Repetitive Read

    Upon first hearing of this book I thought it would be a cute, quick, fun read. It was definitely quick as the original poem the poems in the book are modeled after is quite short. The original poem is cute, quick, and fun. Some of the poems in the book were as well. But a book full of this many of the same format poem, with the same basic theme, and the same line within it over and over was just too much. Repetitive in nature it made it boring. The book might be good if you read one of the poems a day, but sitting down to read each of these as a collection of poetry is not ideal.

    Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2012

    This book is wickedly funny & dark. "Distasteful

    This book is wickedly funny & dark.

    "Distasteful Forgive me
    & disturbing" I thought
    according to more people had
    School Library Journal, a sense of humor.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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