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By Oswald Campbell
Sep 25, 2009
"Heartfelt School Days" The warm lines in this book pulled my memory back to a more simple time. The subject matter is light and reflective of when life was simple. Who wouldn't want to be a kid again? Moreover this book relates to the lifestyle of the young scholar while introducing poetry to that happy time. Definitely a recommended book.
"Simple Rhyming...Simply Splendid" Sheyenne Sheridan’s book, Simple Rhyming, immediately appealed to me because of my love for poetry. One of my first projects with Lulu was a collection of my own poetry spanning all the way back to grade school. Sheridan’s collection is a nice array of subjects, mostly school related, with rhyming meters that are indeed simple and sing song and would be easy for children to learn. Based on the book cover alone, you would almost assume this is a collection of poetry for children age five and under. However, that would not be correct. While there are poems about recess, riding the bus, doing homework, and making friends, I think the poems are almost too complex for a pre-school or kindergarten reading level. There are also poems about bad hair days, blushing when a boy walks by, liking boys in general, and choosing make-up and a dress for a school dance. While such poems are quite innocent in their tone, I believe they are intended for a... More > “tween” audience. The author does state that this book is for children of all ages, but I think some clarification might help. Maybe dividing the poems up into age specific chapters, and changing the cover to reflect older age groups as well, would help. Also, almost all of the poems average at least ten to twelve lines, but I think children under six would prefer some shorter poems instead of which there are none under ten lines right now. That being said, I don’t want to distract too much from the positive and sincere intentions Sheridan does reflect in her poetry. The book is practically a journey through an entire school year covering subjects such as studying and getting good grades, Valentine’s Day, making friends, the Book Fair, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, an annual Bake Sale, Field Trips, Fire Drills, and Summer Break. I was hoping to find one about school picture day! There are also peer positive poems on subjects like being a teacher’s pet, bullying, being shy and smiling, a misfit student, and the old saying of my dog ate my homework. Each poem comes to a nice end and is often humorous as well. One of my favorites is entitled “Hurtful Words.” Here are a few lines from it… I may not dress well And I’m not always clean But that doesn’t give you The rights to be so mean We are here to learn And that’s what I do So, you get bad grades But do I tease you? There is also one poem that sort of spells out the intention of the book by showing kids how easy and fun it is to write poems that rhyme. It is the fourth poem in the book. I would have liked to have seen it as an introduction instead. For younger readers, Sheridan maybe could display sets of simple rhyming words in a large bold font and then show them being used in a sentence. Despite my own personal views on the layout of this book, I was well pleased with it overall and felt the poems were well written and a nice collection of important subjects for schoolers which I enjoyed reminiscing on. And even after my feelings about the “block building” cover, I’d still purchase this book in a store as a gift but for at least a ten or twelve year old. Unfortunately, without picking the book up and thumbing through it first, I might think the book was for a much much younger audience. With a new cover and a new focus on an age specific audience, Simple Rhyming could be a true gem. If you have a poem loving kid in your family who might need some encouragement in class (eight to thirteen in age) or enjoys poetry, then this book would make a perfect stocking stuffer!< Less
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