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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Outside the Box: A Book of Poems, written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Diane Goode. Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster. 2014. $19.99 ages 7 and up

"The wolves are having trouble
finding tasty sheep to eat.
They wish they could
for sheep taste good;
they have the nicest meat.

But wolves are having trouble,
for the sheep cannot be found.
The sheep are rare,
but everywhere,
flocks of wolves abound."

Ah, this is fun! It's a great collection, with grand artwork and unlimited appeal for its target audience. Reading it with your family or to your students will provide laughter and light-hearted entertainment at every turn of the page.

Karma Wilson dedicates her book to the man who immediately came to my mind as I opened the box that contained it:

"To Shel S.,
who encouraged every child to play with words,
and in doing so, encouraged them to learn how to love,
fight, and reach others with words as well."

Off we go with a tongue-in-cheek welcome, and encouragement to find something inside to love and share. Thinking 'outside the box' is at the heart of this collection. There are poems to remind readers of stories from their own lives...telling fibs, tattling, arguing with sisters and brothers. There are flights of imagination and some wild new creatures that will live long in our memories.

"Definition of a Unicorn

Is it...
a horse with a horn?
Or just one ear of corn?"

Growing up can be such fun! The poet sets out to prove it's true. In more than 100 poems, Ms. Wilson celebrates what makes a child a child, the events that hold special memories, the joys and sorrows of family life and the creative spirit:

" My brother built a car today.
He said, "Hop in. We'll drive away."
Might take a while gettin' there.
The wheels my brother made are square."

Diane Goode's accompanying artwork, done with ink and capturing the comedic spirit of the writing, is perfect. In just a few strokes of the pen, she conjures up moments that match the words on the page and give definition to the concepts shared.

Celebrate Poetry Month before it's too late!

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