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Stampede!: Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School Hardcover – April 6, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–4—In 18 verses and whimsical pictures, the behavior of children is likened to that of animals as hunger transforms them into ravenous beasts, a new girl is turned into a mouse lost in a maze of hallways, and the final bell sets off a stampede of thundering elephants. In "Here, Boy," for example, a hungry youngster becomes a dog racing to get his food in the cafeteria: "Lunch bell starts ringing,/down the hallway I bound./I'm a dog who's just heard/the can-opener sound." The cartoon illustration depicts him with floppy ears, a collar round his neck, and his long belt looped behind him like a leash. These child-friendly verses may induce a wry chuckle or two, but overall, they're not memorable. Salerno has a great sense of composition, but his busy illustrations often distract from the simple imagery. Stick with stronger collections of school poetry, such as Jack Prelutsky's What a Day It Was at School! (HarperCollins, 2006).—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
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From Booklist

No need to visit the zoo to see animals, young scholars—just look at your classmates. From the buzzing “bees” swarming over the playground to the starving pre-lunch “bear” with the rumbling tummy and the “blazing / cardinal, / winging / away” from the rumor of a crush, school is well populated with wild creatures. Salas captures 18 of them in very short, first-person rhymes, and like fugitives from The Island of Dr. Moreau, the children in Salerno’s supple, loosely drawn cartoon illustrations sport an array of evocative animal ears, tails, patterned clothes, and altered facial features. The wild verses are positively shot through with simile and metaphor, and young readers will run just as rampant, flocking to these pitch-perfect portrayals of their peers and selves. Grades 1-3. --John Peters

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books; 1st edition (April 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618914889
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618914883
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,667,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Former teacher Laura Purdie Salas has written more than 125 books for kids, including the CAN BE... series (Bank Street Best Books, IRA Teachers' Choice) and BOOKSPEAK! (Minnesota Book Award, NCTE Notable). Laura shares inspiration and practical tips with educators about poetry, nonfiction, and more, and she loves to visit schools to share reading and writing love. Visit Laura at

Besides reading and writing, Laura loves going on adventures, working out, playing games, singing (badly--at home), and doing Rock Band.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lisa B. on April 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Stampede is a fantastic and funny collection of poems for kids of all ages! The poems and art work beautifully together, and kids will have no trouble relating to their favorite animal images. The poems cover situations and emotions ranging from laugh-out-loud to poignant, and will no doubt inspire your young readers to also try their hand at becoming young writers. The collection would also be perfect for kids to memorize and act out their favorite entries, perhaps with puppets or their own stuffed animal friends. Don't monkey around: buy one now for your favorite "honey bunny."
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Format: Hardcover
My 6-year-old son's face turned beet red when I read the poem "Blush" from Laura Salas's new book "Stampede" to him. Turns out he has a crush on a classmate. I enjoyed reading "Stampede" with him. We laughed out loud reading "King of the Jungle (Gym)". I call Brandon "my little monkey" because he's been climbing and swinging before he could walk. And that's what's so unique about Laura Salas's book. She uses poetry to portray incidents that happen at school that children can relate to, but with an unusual twist - the kids are depicted as animals. I'm sure every reader will relate to one or more of Laura's poems. I liked "Turtleneck" because it reminded me of all those times I wanted to crawl into a shell and hide because I didn't want my teacher to call on me.

The illustrator, Steven Salerno, make the words jump off the page through his illustrations. My son laughed at the spiked hair in the poem "Prickly" and the duck that was out of line in the poem "Ducks in a Row."

I recommend adding this book to your collection. You'll have fun reliving your school days and may feel like a red cardinal when you remember your first crush.
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By LadyJai on April 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A children's poetry book
about an entire school year
From start to finish
the allegories quite dear

where else could you see
children all around
running and playing
situations abound?

From stampeding elephants
to swarming like bees
the kids swoop like sparrows
and swing like monkeys

A whirlwind of laughter
to hearts ever breaking
eighteen poems you'll remember
and keep your sides aching

Kids will see that
all their woes and fears
happen to everyone at some point
in their school careers

Adults will reminisce
of their school days past
brought vibrantly to life
the memories ever last
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Format: Hardcover
Stampede looks, on its face, to be funny.
And it is -- poems like King of the Jungle (Gym), Counting on Me, and Hike and Peek are all charming and amusing.
But the strongest poems in this book are tender, compassionate portraits of kids struggling in the zoo-like world that is school.
New Mouse, Tomorrow is Picture Day?, and Turtleneck are especially strong, and will comfort young readers while entertaining them.
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