Messing Around on the Monkey Bars: and Other School Poems for Two Voices

Overview

Out on the playground, kids are skipping rope and making trades. In the library, they’re whispering, fi dgeting, and giggling. In the classroom, they’re learning their lessons....or spinning tales about why they haven’t turned in their homework. Throughout this collection of nineteen poems — ideal for reading aloud in pairs, but just as much fun with one or many — words, pictures, and voices erupt in an irresistible invitation to join an exhilarating ride around school. So hop on the bus! The pencils are tapping,...
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Overview

Out on the playground, kids are skipping rope and making trades. In the library, they’re whispering, fi dgeting, and giggling. In the classroom, they’re learning their lessons....or spinning tales about why they haven’t turned in their homework. Throughout this collection of nineteen poems — ideal for reading aloud in pairs, but just as much fun with one or many — words, pictures, and voices erupt in an irresistible invitation to join an exhilarating ride around school. So hop on the bus! The pencils are tapping, the clock is ticking, and reports are due...tomorrow?
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susan Treadway M.Ed
Read-aloud books incorporate an assortment of lessons, subject matter, and enjoyable content while marvelous oral language is featured. Children are naturally curious and eager to become fully involved in the process. In this case, for example, nineteen poems for two voices create a much different engaging activity. Vocalizing poetry may or may not be a common practice in classrooms or other gatherings, but they certainly can be inviting like reader's theater, oral stories, and dramatic presentations. Having two people alternate the lines brings a new dimension to every rendition. In a short introduction, the author explains how to guide pairs of participants while offering other ways to read them aloud with somewhat larger groups. Since the general topic of school is so familiar, students are unlikely to stumble through or lose their audience. Laughter should be encouraged! Specifically, poems cover events in and around a school day such as "Our Tired Teacher Must Not Be Listening," "Jump Rope Jingle," "In the Library," "Wild Bus Ride," "I Can't Wait," "Homework Blues," "New Kid at School," "Backboard Rap," "Animal Reports," "Weird Stuff in the Lost and Found," "Jenny's Pencil," and "Whirr, Whirr, Zing, Zap." There are poems that have rhyme and rhythm while others are free verse. It is significant to note that much of the vocabulary is in the form of onomatopoeia which creates vivid mental images. This powerful technique is useful for educators and students who use it to address other subjects within language arts and across the curriculum, i.e. speaking, listening, reading and writing. It is unfortunate, however, that illustrations are not as bold or large enough for listeners toenjoy as portrayed by the excellent poetry. As a picture book for older elementary and middle schoolers, it could be somewhat of a disappointment for visual learners. Even so, wrapping up the collection is a very fine section called "Adventurous Ways to Read the Poems" that helps readers incorporate variety, unique forms, and unlimited presentations with friends and colleagues. Integrating poetry into classes becomes readily available with works such as this one. Dive in! Reviewer: Susan Treadway, M.Ed
School Library Journal
K-Gr 6—While the poems in this book can be read silently by one person, they are written for two or more voices and come alive when read aloud. Beginning with a verse about the bus ride to school, the selections cleverly incorporate alliteration and action. Franco adeptly uses meter and rhythm to capture the fast-paced action of jumping rope on the playground, and students will recognize the descriptions of typical classroom sounds that distract them from finishing schoolwork. Franco employs plenty of humor, as in "Weird Stuff in the Lost and Found": "A purple coat,/a wizard hat,/a dirty baseball shirt,/someone's stinky soccer sock,/a yellow hula skirt." Teachers and librarians looking for readers' theater materials will be delighted with this collection; bold text indicates alternating voices, and suggestions for additional "adventurous ways to read the poems" are in the back matter. The bright hues and quirky depictions of students and teachers in Harland's gouache illustrations have plenty of child appeal. The typeface is easy to read and the unassuming, natural language will help reluctant readers feel comfortable with poetry. An enjoyable romp through playgrounds and cafeterias, this book will please class poets, performers, and clowns alike.—Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI
Kirkus Reviews
A cheeky romp through elementary schoolchildren's academic and social lives. Though readers could tackle the poems alone, differences in typeface cue the possibility for two readers to share the poems aloud in Joyful Noise fashion, alternating lines and sharing others in a clever script that reflects children's school-day experiences. Poems cover a variety of topics from losing one's lunch money to reaching out to a new classmate ("Where did you come from? / Far away. / Miss your friends? / Every day") to exasperating a (rather unfortunately stereotypical) stodgy librarian. Hartland's energetic gouache illustrations adopt a naive style that matches the playful spirit of the text while serving as a splendid complement to its evocation of children's voices. This book gets high marks. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763631741
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2009
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 623,602
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Betsy Franco starts every weekday with a visit to her local elementary school, where she chats with students, listens to what they’re saying, and observes what they’re doing. What she has learned informs many of her more than eighty books, including several picture-book poetry collections. She lives in California.

Jessie Hartland has illustrated numerous picture books for children, including two she wrote. Her fine artwork has been exhibited in New York, Venice, Tokyo, and elsewhere. She lives and works in New York City.

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