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Science Verse Paperback – September 6, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-5–In Math Curse (Viking, 1995), a teacher's chance comment causes a girl to see every aspect of her life as a math problem. This time around, the fun starts when a boy hears this remark: "…if you listen closely enough, you can hear the poetry of science in everything." What follows is a series of poems that parody the styles of Joyce Kilmer, Edgar Allan Poe, Lewis Carroll, Robert Frost, and many others, as well as familiar songs and nursery rhymes. "Once in first grade I was napping/When I heard a scary yapping" begins a lament about studying dinosaurs year after year. In "Astronaut Stopping by a Planet on a Snowy Evening," the narrator bemoans the fact that he can't figure out what planet he's on because "In science class I was asleep…." Children need not be familiar with the works upon which the spoofs are based to enjoy the humor, but this is a perfect opportunity to introduce the originals and to discuss parody as a poetic form. The dynamic cartoons are an absolute delight. The expressions on the face of the beleaguered boy keep readers smiling and the pages are chock-full of funny details that are in perfect sync with the poems. Printed in a cream-colored, readable font and set against solid backgrounds, the text is never overwhelmed by the frenetic illustrations. Fans of Scieszka and Smith will be in heaven, but the book will appeal to one and all.–Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 3-5. In this worthy companion to Math Curse (1995), a boy sits in science class listening to his teacher drone on about "the poetry of science," when he is stricken with a "curse of science verse." Every thought comes to him in rhyme, and not just any rhyme, but parodies of famous poems and songs. Not just any parodies, but hilarious ones, particularly for those familiar with the originals, from Kilmer's "Trees" and Poe's "The Raven" to "I'm a Little Teapot" and "Eenie, meanie, mynie, mo." Clever and often droll, the verse ably juggles facts, meter, and rhyme schemes and usually reflects a student's point of view: grossed out by the human body, bored by yet another year of dinosaur study, more concerned about writing down the right answer than getting at the truth. Smith's multimedia collage artwork, incorporating drawings, paintings, and printed materials, is sophisticated yet accessible... A beautifully designed book--intelligent, irreverent, inviting, and downright irresistible. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 1 and up
  • Lexile Measure: NP (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile; First Edition edition (September 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670062693
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670062690
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #600,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Elementary school teachers everywhere knew the wonders of the Scieszka/Lane picture book, "Math Curse" and its use in getting kids to get interested in basic mathematical concepts. Nearly a full ten years after the publication of that well-known title, the infamous writer/illustrator pair have returned with a sequel of sorts. Entitled, "Science Verse", the book is a quick look at a variety of chemical, biological, and physical sciences that introduce kids to common terms and (if they read it enough) may even accidentally teach them a fact or two. Parents be warned: If your five-year-old comes walking up to you with this book clasped in their clammy little hands, they may well ask you something along the lines of, "Mom, what's a carbohydrate?" or "Dad, what's a flavored quark?". Better do your research now before they do.

In this book our young balding child hero (seated in class next to the kid from "Math Curse", no less) listens to his teacher saying, "...if you listen closely enough, you can hear the poetry of science in everything". Without further ado, our narrator explains that, "Mr. Newton has zapped me with a curse of Science Verse". What follows is a series of different poems all discussing various scientific aspects of the kinds of things kids learn about in school. Some of these poems will be bigger hits than others. For kids, they're bound to enjoy the quick section neatly titled, "Why Scientists Don't Write Nursery Rhymes" as well as poems talking about the wonders of viruses, metal things touching electrical sockets, and some cute little four line poems that get the point across pronto. Adults will enjoy Scieszka's mighty original take on Lewis Carroll's, "Jabberwocky" or a play on Poe's, "The Raven" that substitutes the familiar "Nevermore" with "Dinosaur".
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Format: Paperback
My review is mainly a response to the negative reviews on this page. First off, were you really expecting to teach accurate "science" from this book? I mean this book is authored by the same guy that writes about a stinky cheese man and the real stories of the three little pigs. Anyone expecting textbook grade science material is barking up the wrong tree.

Second, all the reviewers complaining about how it makes science seem boring are completely missing the point. Science isn't boring, but the way it is taught in schools is often boring. The book appeals to that sentiment, but it doesn't imply that science is boring. Rather, it makes science look fun; it just makes the science teachers look a little dull (After all, their boring ways killed the dinosaurs).

Third, does this look like the type of book where you are going to find perfectly structured poetry? Not all of the rhymes flow perfectly well, but sometimes that was the author's intention anyways. For the most part, the rhymes are great and they're entertaining.

Take the book for what it is: excellent illustration and fun rhymes. This book isn't necessarily going to make kids rush off to read a biochemistry text book, but I think it helps to make science a more approachable subject. After all, anything that takes itself so seriously that it doesn't allow in room for a little self-deprecation from time to time, isn't all that approachable.

And to the review that said poetry is unrelated to science: please take the time to see the art and poetry behind science. It sounds to me that you have unfortunately been taught science by the very same teachers this book takes a jab at, but you can definitely find art in the world of science.
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Format: Hardcover
I've used this book in my biology class for 9th graders. They love it when I read a passage from it to start a unit. For the ecology unit, I read/sang the poem on food chains and then asked the students to write their own poem to a song about a theme in ecology. The verse in this book is original and fun for all ages!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really love this book, as do my husband and son. This was won of the first books the boys read together, and even though he was too young to understand much, my 3 month old loved the pictures and listening to Daddy sing. He actually sat still longer for this than he does for his board books! We're science nerds in our house and love this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Okay. First of all, ignore the other reviews that rant about the unevenness of the poetry in here. Whoever said that all poetry must be measured exactly, like a recipe for the perfect peach pie? Lighten up people! Last time I checked, this book was in the children's section. The idea here is to have FUN. You can read this to your little ones, and they may enjoy the crazy little illustrations and such, but I think the older crowd will appreciate it even more. (By older, I'm talking about middle schoolers and high schoolers, but adults will hopefully get the humor in it as well). The more you know your science terms and/or poetry, the more you will laugh! There are some great twists on classic poems like Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" and Thayer's "Casey at the Bat". My personal favorite was the section entitled, "Why Scientists Don't Write Nursery Rhymes", particularly the one based on Jack Be Nimble - made my test tubes shake with delight.
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