cover image Poem in Your Pocket

Poem in Your Pocket

Margaret McNamara, illus. by G. Brian Karas. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-307-97947-6

Last seen in The Apple Orchard Riddle, Mr. Tiffin and his class are back to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day, which includes the chance to recite their poetry in an assembly starring a poet named Emmy Crane. Almost everyone embraces his or her muse, practicing figures of speech (“Math is like a knot” observes one student) and forms that range from haiku to concrete and light verse. But quiet Elinor can’t find her poetry groove, and when the big day arrives, she admits, “I have nothing in my pocket. Nothing at all.” Emmy Crane proves as empathic and effective a teacher as Mr. Tiffin, and Elinor finds her unexpectedly eloquent voice on stage. If the story occasionally strains credulity in its idealized portrait of contemporary school dynamics, its emotional foundation is sound, and teachers will find this an excellent road map for poetry-related activities. The amiable pictures and calm, compassionate narration should persuade even the most timorous readers that they, too, can have a poet’s eyes. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Faith Hamlin, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Illustrator’s agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Jan.)