Review of Did You Hear What I Heard?: Poems About School

Did You Hear What I Heard?: Poems About School
by Kay Winters; illus by Patrice Barton
Primary    Dial    40 pp.    g
2/18    978-0-399-53898-8    $16.99

Thirty-five poems cover the school year from “Bus Stop” to “Sing a Song of Summer,” with a fire drill, a snow day, April Fool’s Day, and Earth Day in between. There’s one about the excitement of spotting your teacher in the grocery store, and even the dreaded lice experience: “My head feels itchy, / switchy, twitchy. / BUGS are living there!” Winters’s poems are short, almost all fitting on one page with 
lots of white space, and she playfully uses punctuation and capitalization 
for emphasis and to create pauses. Mostly upbeat and funny, these reflect lots of everyday experiences, and one poem requires participation: “The 
opposite of weak is… / The opposite of right is…” Barton’s digital pictures feature exuberant and active children who seem to be around first grade, with a range of skin colors and ethnicities 
(though not a range of heights or body types). She shows the children interacting, and makes clear that their relationships with one another and with the teachers are part of what school is about. Words and pictures work together to reinforce meaning, so this is a fine choice for new readers as well as children who are anxiously anticipating school.

From the May/June 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Susan Dove Lempke
Susan Dove Lempke
Susan Dove Lempke is a Horn Book reviewer and director of the Niles Public Library District in Illinois.

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