cover image After the Bell Rings: Poems About After-School Time

After the Bell Rings: Poems About After-School Time

Carol Diggory Shields, illus. by Paul Meisel. Dial, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3805-8

Opening with two poems titled “2:48”—one highlights students’ eager-to-leave-school perspective, the other their teacher’s not-so-different attitude—Shields hopscotches over after-school terrain that readers will know well, from tackling homework and chores to trying to pick a snack from the fridge (“Something creamy and sweet?/ Or something covered with cheese?/ I hope my stomach decides/ Before I totally freeze”). Clever entries include a poem about a boy’s love of manga, which reads right-to-left, and one that unfolds in text messages (“mathz ez. spLN? No clu”). Meisel’s mixed-media cartoons are equally plugged into kids’ digital lives, with smartphones and tablets as omnipresent as schoolbooks, backpacks, and musical instruments being practiced with varying degrees of success. Ages 6–9. Illustrator’s agent: Jennifer Mattson, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Feb.)