Stampede!: Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School [NOOK Book]


An inventive poetry collection that shows the wild side of first- and second-graders at school.

These 18 funny and imaginative poems observe students in their natural habitat and reveal their unusual behavior, crazy communication, and very healthy appetites. Whether they’re in the classroom, on the playground, or in the cafeteria, school brings out the animal in all of them. And if you look carefully as you ...
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Stampede!: Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School

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An inventive poetry collection that shows the wild side of first- and second-graders at school.

These 18 funny and imaginative poems observe students in their natural habitat and reveal their unusual behavior, crazy communication, and very healthy appetites. Whether they’re in the classroom, on the playground, or in the cafeteria, school brings out the animal in all of them. And if you look carefully as you turn the pages, you may even glimpse some of the wild side in yourself!
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Candice Ransom
Poetry collections about school life are not new, but Salas's eighteen poems bring a fresh spin to the typical hall-monitor, mystery-meat-for-lunch fare. Using animal metaphors, she writes of a "swarm of bumblebees" on the schoolyard, waiting for class to start, a mouse being lost in a maze of hallways, a "blazing cardinal" blushing from gossip, a turtle tucking his head into his sweater in an attempt to hide from the teacher, and, in the title poem, a herd of elephants "spill outside/like captives finally freed./We're thundering, fumbling/elephants—/an after-school stampede." Salas's razor-keen meter thrums without missing a beat, her imagery sharp as the prickly "porcupine-y" girl in a bad mood, her language crisp and sure-footed as the boy on the monkey bars, "From metal branch/to metal vine,/I dip and dive—/this jungle's mine." The illustrations are somewhat disappointing. The characters are meant to be fun and cartoon-y, but some border on grotesque. The cover depicts a stampede of students bursting out of the school. Elephant-ears, trunk-like arms, pig snouts, and monkey lips combined with human bodies are less successful. The best illustrations do not over-reach, such as the flying children in "Playground Sparrows" and duck-walking students in "Ducks in a Row." Despite the art flaws, children will rush to read Stampede! Reviewer: Candice Ransom
School Library Journal

Gr 2-4

In 18 verses and whimsical pictures, the behavior of children is likened to that of animals as hunger transforms them into ravenous beasts, a new girl is turned into a mouse lost in a maze of hallways, and the final bell sets off a stampede of thundering elephants. In "Here, Boy," for example, a hungry youngster becomes a dog racing to get his food in the cafeteria: "Lunch bell starts ringing,/down the hallway I bound./I'm a dog who's just heard/the can-opener sound." The cartoon illustration depicts him with floppy ears, a collar round his neck, and his long belt looped behind him like a leash. These child-friendly verses may induce a wry chuckle or two, but overall, they're not memorable. Salerno has a great sense of composition, but his busy illustrations often distract from the simple imagery. Stick with stronger collections of school poetry, such as Jack Prelutsky's What a Day It Was at School! (HarperCollins, 2006).-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

Kirkus Reviews
No food fights or bullying here; it's not that kind of wild. But these children have some behavioral characteristics that can be likened to animals' habits. One child tucks his face into his sweater, turtlelike, to avoid answering a question. The monkey king swings on the jungle gym and the new student is a bewildered mouse in a maze. While several of Salas's very simple verses are sharp and clever, too many are flawed, either by tenuous child-animal connections or, in some cases, by stretching the theme to the breaking point. There is also a problem of repetition: Three poems about crowds of children in the schoolyard variously compare them to swarming bees, flocks of sparrows and stampeding elephants. Salerno's digitally enhanced gouache illustrations are bright and spirited, but only a few succeed in complementing the poems. Instead there seems to be a level of discomfort in handling the material, as if they're not quite sure how to balance the appearance of the child as animal. Uneven and disappointing. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547534039
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/6/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,335,637
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • File size: 29 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Laura Purdie Salas is the author of several poetry and nonfiction books for children. She lives with her family in Minnesota, and you can find out more about her at

Steven Salerno has illustrated many popular picture books for children, including The Dirty Little Boy by Margaret Wise Brown, Bebe Goes Shopping, and Brothers at Bat, as well as his own Little Tumbo and Coco the Carrot. A graduate of Parsons School of Design, where he studied under famed author/illustrator Maurice Sendak, Steven's illustrations appear in magazines, advertising campaigns, product packaging, and retail interiors. He lives and works in New York City.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 11, 2011

    A review in verse

    A children's poetry book
    about an entire school year
    From start to finish
    the allegories quite dear

    where else could you see
    children all around
    running and playing
    situations abound?

    From stampeding elephants
    to swarming like bees
    the kids swoop like sparrows
    and swing like monkeys

    A whirlwind of laughter
    to hearts ever breaking
    eighteen poems you'll remember
    and keep your sides aching

    Kids will see that
    all their woes and fears
    happen to everyone at some point
    in their school careers

    Adults will reminisce
    of their school days past
    brought vibrantly to life
    the memories ever last

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  • Posted May 19, 2009

    Exploring the emotions of childhood

    Salas's inventive imagination and poet's eye are evident in this vibrant collection of poems about children at school. By drawing sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant parallels between a child's world and the natural world, Salas enables her young readers to probe their budding emotions, along with their many schoolyard experiences, in profound yet playful ways.

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  • Posted April 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Stampede is a Great Read Aloud Book

    My 6-year-old son's face turned beet red when I read the poem "Blush" from Laura Salas's new book "Stampede" to him. Turns out he has a crush on a classmate. I enjoyed reading "Stampede" with him. We laughed out loud reading "King of the Jungle (Gym)". I call Brandon "my little monkey" because he's been climbing and swinging before he could walk. And that's what's so unique about Laura Salas's book. She uses poetry to portray incidents that happen at school that children can relate to, but with an unusual twist - the kids are depicted as animals. I'm sure every reader will relate to one or more of Laura's poems. I liked "Turtleneck" because it reminded me of all those times I wanted to crawl into a shell and hide because I didn't want my teacher to call on me.

    The illustrator, Steven Salerno, make the words jump off the page through his illustrations. My son laughed at the spiked hair in the poem "Prickly" and the duck that was out of line in the poem "Ducks in a Row."

    I recommend adding this book to your collection. You'll have fun reliving your school days and may feel like a red cardinal when you remember your first crush.

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