________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 11 . . . . November 16, 2012


Noisy Poems for a Busy Day.

Robert Heidbreder. Illustrated by Lori Joy Smith.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2012.
40 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-55453-706-8.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 2-6.

Review by Myra Junyk.




Out to Play

Leap-spring wide.
Kiss the morning
air outside.

The day has begun once again for the precocious children in the picture book Noisy Poems for a Busy Day. Their busy lives are described through a series of “noisy poems.” They get out of bed with a “Riffle-rustle” and pounding feet. They finish breakfast with a “Big belch – BURP!” They are immediately reminded to say “Excuse me!” They get ready to go outside to play where they do “Tipsy-topsy” somersaults, watch clouds which “Bumble-tumble,” listen to the “Thip! Thip! Shhh!” of the birds. When they finally return home, they are all “Squishy-squash” covered in mud!

internal art      After a quick lunch, it is off to the park again to play on the swings and the slide. A brief conflict arises during a game of tag between the friends. There is a bit of “Push-shove-budge. Tongues stuck out!” But after the grown-ups get involved, all is forgiven, and the friends go home for dinner. They get ready for bed with a “Splash-splash!” in the tub, and a “Shimmy-shake!” into their PJs. After storytime, their heads are filled with “Dazzle-dreams.”

      This picture book is a wonderful collection of action-packed short poems for very young children. Poetry collections for this age group are rare in the current Canadian publishing world. However, poetry is essential to meet the needs of children who are just learning about wordplay, imagination and language. Since the poems in this collection are all very short and lively, they can definitely be used for read-aloud and shared reading experiences by teachers and caregivers. Young children will love to repeat the lively and unusual words which fill these poems. Who could resist the “Shimmy-jimmy” of climbing a tree?

      The writer, Robert Heidbreder, taught primary children for thirty years in British Columbia. In 2002, he won the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. His picture books have also won several awards. His picture book Drumheller Dinosaur Dance won both the British Columbia Chocolate Lily Award and the Ontario Blue Spruce Award in 2006. All of his books are filled with lively and imaginative wordplay which definitely appeals to young readers.

      Heidbreder’s text is complemented by the colourful illustrations of Lori Joy Smith whose artwork has appeared in magazines such as Chirp and Today’s Parent. The children of this picture book are very active and love to play together. Smith has chosen earth tones for most of her illustrations since the children love to be outside playing. There are several tiny pets (rabbit, elephant and cat) enjoying the action described in the poems. The illustrations will give readers lots of additional information about the action going on in the short poems which appear on each page.

      Noisy Poems for a Busy Day is an excellent picture book to use with young children in order to introduce concepts such as wordplay, vocabulary, rhythm, and rhyme. There are many activities which could be done in conjunction with this picture book such as art projects, dramatizations, and diary-writing. Children and adults who care for them will be fascinated by both the illustrations and the wonderful short poems in this poetry collection!

Highly Recommended.

Myra Junyk is a Toronto, ON-based literacy advocate and author.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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