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Friday, February 2, 2018

Did You Hear What I Heard? Poems About School, written by Kay Winters and illustrated by Patrice Barton. Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Random House, 2018. $22.99 ages 5 and up

" ...
When a word is wrong
I don't erase.
I just delete
and leave a space."

Then I type again.
The page looks neat.
No smudges or smears.

I love to delete!"

And here's a perfect poem for today: Groundhog Day!

"Question for
the Groundhog

Will you,
     Won't you
See your shadow?

Will it,
     Won't it
Really matter?

Do you
     Don't you
Grin to see

    take you

This new book of 35 poems follows the school year from the school buses rolling out on the first day to the final day before summer vacation. Each poem is written from a different perspective - a family rushing to make sure the children have all they need before boarding the bus that waits outside the door, to the school's voice welcoming the buses filled with the children who will fill its hallways and classrooms. New kids, math whizzes, language learners, wonderers, recess, science learning, field trips - so many things to consider when children are at school.

The poems describe common events; listeners will find much that is familiar to them.

"We collected crayons
and tiny gold stars.
We counted out 100 each,
and put them into jars.

We built a tall tower
of 100 paper cups.
It wiggled ... it wobbled.
It wouldn't stand up!

We made ten lines of Legos.
Each line had ten.
We counted and counted and counted
and then ... "

The poetic forms are as varied as the perspectives. Patrice Barton's digital illustrations will have a familiar look to those who admire her work. They have the softness of watercolors, textured with warm colors and full of energy and movement. The children are her focus; they are a diverse group. They enjoy their time together and have much to share.

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