A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Outside the Box by Karma Wilson and fancifully illustrated by Caldecott Honor recipient Diane Goode is a fun, accessible, kid-friendly collection of short poems that has the look and feel of a poetry collection by Shel Silverstein (to whom the book is dedicated). Most are silly, funny, playful, and rhyming. A few are in free verse, showing kids there's a range of poetry styles. Great for reading aloud or alone and, with its short takes and engaging art, a good choice for reluctant readers.
What's the story?
OUTSIDE THE BOX offers 88 short poems that reflect a kid's point of view about all manner of things real and imagined: food, animals, siblings, monsters, vampires, weather, bugs, dreams, school, lying, fears -- you name it. Some get at kids' emotions: anger, jealousy, sibling rivalry. Some offer advice, such as in "Shower Songs": "If you ever sing / in the shower, / sing with your head / pointed down. / For it's true, / dontcha know, / it's a bad way to go... / to sing in the shower and drown." Some offer lively wordplay, such as "Horaceopotamus / loved food quite alotomus."
Is it any good?
Outside the Box lives up to its name with playful, imaginative short poems. Most are silly and spunky; some are flippant and flaunt attitude. All are accessible and engaging, boosted by lively pen-and-ink drawings.
It's a great collection to show how poems can capture a feeling or explore an idea, no matter how crazy or irreverent, and see where it goes. It's a good way to get kids to observe and think about the world around them and the limitlessness of their own imaginations. Clever typography aids meaning in some cases, such as when words fall like raindrops in "Rain," swirl down the drain in "Shower Songs," and float upside down in "The Law of Gravity."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about poetry. How is it different from regular storytelling? Can it be funny or serious? Which do you like better?
Are rhyming stories like the ones in Dr. Seuss books poetry? Do poems always have to rhyme?
Write a poem about something crazy that's not real. Then write a poem about something totally ordinary, such as what you ate for breakfast. Then draw a picture to go with each poem.
- Author: Karma Wilson
- Illustrator: Diane Goode
- Genre: Poetry
- Topics: Cars and trucks, Magic and fantasy, Arts and dance, Brothers and sisters, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Robots
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: McElderry Books
- Publication date: March 25, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 7 - 10
- Number of pages: 171
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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