A Poem In Your Pocket by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Published by Schwartz & Wade

Summary:  When Elinor hears that poet Emily Crane is coming to their school, she decides to write the perfect poem.  Through the month of April, her class studies and writes all types of poems.  Try as she might, Elinor can’t get hers to be perfect.  When the big day comes to greet Emily Crane, Elinor is the only one in the class with an empty pocket.  One by one her classmates get on stage and share their poems.  When it’s Elinor’s turn, she tells Ms. Crane that she tried but couldn’t write the perfect poem.  “No poem is perfect,” the poet tells her.  “Tell me what you’ve been thinking about.”  Elinor closes her eyes, thinks of all the poetry she’s been studying, and creates a poem.

Pros:  This a great introduction to poetry, covering similes, metaphors, haiku, concrete poems, acrostics, and funny rhymes.  The kids are likeable and real.  We’ve all known kids (and adults) like Elinor, and she doesn’t come across as the snobby know-it-all that she could have.  On the last two pages, Elinor gives kids some facts about poetry and her teacher Mr. Tiffin shares some pointers for teachers.  Look for the other two books in this series (Mr. Tiffin’s Classroom) that teach about math and apples.

Cons:  All the pressure poor Elinor put on herself to perform.

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