Oh Homework Oh Homework By Shel Silverstein

When we explored poetry in my college English lit class, I was pretty excited at first, since the reading assignments were relatively short, and I wouldn’t have to spend that much time on my homework.  Well, I did my reading and went to class feeling well prepared.  When we started discussing one of the assigned poems, I shot my hand up and felt very smug as I attempted to explain the poem’s meaning.  Well, I have to tell you that my professor told me that I was wrong, and not only was I wrong, but I’d made an ignorant error and tried to take the poem too literally.  I was embarrassed and I’ve been afraid of poetry ever since.

When Vance was born I tried to make sure he wouldn’t feel the same way about poetry, so I always made sure he had some available, starting with simple nursery rhymes.  He loved the poems of Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky, and when I saw Serena was organizing a tour for National Poetry Month, I knew I wanted to review one of their books.  I settled on The New Kid on the Block by Jack Prelutsky.

In 2006, Jack Prelutsky was named the inaugural winner of the Children’s Poet Laureate Award and I can see why – his poems are just plain fun!   Prelutsky doesn’t really tackle any issues in The New Kid on the Block, but he’s sure to make youngsters (and oldsters like me) laugh with poems like:

You Need to Have an Iron Rear

You need to have an iron rear
to sit upon a cactus,
or otherwise, at least a year
of very painful practice.

This book has great drawings by James Stevenson.  There are also two great indices in the back – one lists poems by title and the other by first lines.  Reading The New Kid on the Block brought back memories for me, because Vance loved:

Homework! Oh, Homework!

Homework! Oh, homework!
I hate you! You stink!
I wish I could wash you
away in the sink,
if only a bomb
would explode you to bits.
Homework! Oh, homework!
You’re giving me fits.

I’d rather take baths
with a man-eating shark,
or wrestle a lion
alone in the dark,
eat spinach and liver,
pet ten porcupines,
than tackle the homework
my teacher assigns.

Homework! Oh, homework!
You’re last on my list,
I simply can’t see
why you even exist,
if you disappeared
it would tickle me pink.
Homework! Oh, homework!
I hate you! You stink!

Vance memorized that poem and use to recite it to me all the time.  I think he even used it for a homework assignment once!  There are over a hundred poems in this book and I think most early readers (and their parents) will enjoy it.  Be sure to check out the other blogs on the National Poetry Month Tour.

I am an Indiebound Affliate.


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Open this book to any page to begin your exploration. Here are poems about things that you may never have thought about before. You'll be introduced to jellyfish stew, a bouncing mouse, a ridiculous dog, and a boneless chicken. You'll learn why you shouldn't argue with a shark, eat a dinosaur, or have an alligator for a pet. You'll meet the world's worst singer and the greOpen this book to any page to begin your exploration. Here are poems about things that you may never have thought about before. You'll be introduced to jellyfish stew, a bouncing mouse, a ridiculous dog, and a boneless chicken. You'll learn why you shouldn't argue with a shark, eat a dinosaur, or have an alligator for a pet. You'll meet the world's worst singer and the greatest video game player in history. You'll even find an invitation to a dragon's birthday party....Your friends are invited too.

Over 100 hilarious poems about strange creatures and people--from jellyfish stew to a bouncing mouse, and a boneless chicken. "The illustrations bring the frivolity to a fever pitch."--School Library Journal. Index....more

Hardcover, 160 pages

Published August 20th 1984 by Greenwillow Books (first published 1984)

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