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Outside the Box: A Book of Poems Hardcover – March 11, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 1–4—It's a bit of a letdown to see a book of poems with this title and find the usual suspects inside. Wilson does a fine job capturing a child's voice, but there's little that's different or exceptional here. Most of the poems employ a traditional rhythm and cover the same ground as other anthologies for school-age kids. In fact, many of selections sound like they would be right at home in a volume of Jack Prelutsky's early verse. Additionally, the cover type resembles most of Shel Silverstein's books. Of course, those aren't necessarily bad comparisons to make. Scattered throughout the book are a few standouts, like "Man in the Moon" and "The Dream Weaver," which challenge readers to look at familiar things in new ways. Also, several concrete poems are included in the mix. "The Law of Gravity," for instance, is printed upside down and in loose text as if the words might fall apart at any moment. Similarly, "Shower Songsa" features the words coming out of a showerhead. The more than 100 poems cover all aspects of a child's life from school events to animals to families and even holidays. The playfulness of Goode's black-and-white sketches are a perfect match for Wilson's lighthearted verses.—Marie Drucker, Malverne Public Library, NY

From Booklist

Familiar objects and situations are given a sideways tweak in more than 100 illustrated poems that subvert expectations. A kid rats out a classmate for being a tattletale; the scary alien under the bed turns out to be a moldy sandwich; and in a long poem that recalls the old lady who swallowed the fly, a boy wears his coat upside down, walks on his hands, sits on his head, and eats from his shoe. That kid is way outside the box! Goode’s ink-and-brush illustrations, full of swooping lines and flippy flourishes, are energetic and graceful at the same time. The art picks up the punch line of funny poems, amplifying the humor to laugh-out-loud levels, but for poems about the moon, dreams, or sunrise, the illustrations are ornate and lovely. Wilson dedicates the book to Shel Silverstein, and indeed the black-and-white illustrations and mixture of wry observation and kooky supposition recall Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974) and Falling Up (1996). Grades 3-6. --Paula Willey

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416980059
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416980056
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.7 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on April 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
My nine-year-old spotted this book at the public library the other day and as a budding poet/writer, promptly checked it out to see if she could get any inspiration. Not only was she inspired, we were both tickled pink by the collection of fun poems covering diverse subjects such as school, eating habits, animals, and a host of other interesting topics. There are plenty of funny poems here to delight young children and many cover topics that children can easily relate to, for example:

I will not ride a water slide.
I do not think I oughta.
Not only am I scared of heights,
I'm terrified of water!

Karma Wilson's verses are enhanced by the black-and-white art of illustrator Diane Goode. There's even a bit of a rebellious feel to some of the poems, and reminds one a little of Shel Silverstein's work. How apt then that the book should be dedicated to the beloved poet. After seeing my daughter enjoying this book several times over (she would run to my office and read them out loud to me while giggling away), I think "Outside the Box" is a great way to get young children engaged with poetry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bob Walch on August 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover
There are some nifty poems here but the illustrations are what really make this collection sizzle and pop. If you like a wide range of mostly rhymed verse about all sorts of topics you'll be amused and pleased. Read them aloud to your friends and share them with
family members...THEN try your own hand at creating some wacky poetry.

Book supplied by publisher.
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Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend starting your day with a silly fun poem or three! As we went along I found a new favorite each day, one of them being:

My Friend….Imaginary
My best imaginary friend
Said the rottenest thing to me.
So now I have a super-mean
make-believe enemy


Dorks and Geeks
Dorks and geeks,
Artistic freaks,
And nerds especially
Become the great,
inventive souls
that make our history

O.k. no more looking through the book or I will end up re-reading them all again! Kids will love each one and their simple complimentary pictures.
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Format: Hardcover
These are short and more-lengthy poems written and illustrated much like Shel Silverstein's. Although I only truly delighted in 15 of the 87, buying the book is still worth it for the pleasure those read-aloud poems will give to the young listener. Memorizing and reciting such poems for public speaking will certainly benefit the reciter-actor and well as the listener.

Fiction: Humorous Juvenile Poetry (Grades 2-4 and Up)--some say younger

The Creative Teacher: Activities for Language Arts (Grades 4 through 8 and Up)
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