Dear Book Lovers, Welcome! I am delighted that you have found The Through the Looking Glass blog. For over twenty years I reviewed children's literature titles for my online journal, which came out six times a year. Every book review written for that publication can be found on the Through the Looking Glass website (the link is below). I am now moving in a different direction, though the columns that I write are still book-centric. Instead of writing reviews, I'm offering you columns on topics that have been inspired by wonderful books that I have read. I tell you about the books in question, and describe how they have have impacted me. This may sound peculiar to some of you, but the books that I tend to choose are ones that resonate with me on some level. Therefore, when I read the last page and close the covers, I am not quite the same person that I was when first I started reading the book. The shift in my perspective might be miniscule, but it is still there. The books I am looking are both about adult and children's titles. Some of the children's titles will appeal to adults, while others will not. Some of the adult titles will appeal to younger readers, particularly those who are eager to expand their horizons.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Poetry Friday with a review of Neon Aliens Ate my Homework and other poems

School is about to start, or has just started, for children all over the world. Now that a new school year is here, somehow it seems very appropriate to post my review of Neon Aliens Ate my Homework and other poems. After all, it won't be long before the homework blues will start, when children will be wishing that they could find a handy alien to conveniently 'eat' their not-yet-done homework assignments.

Neon Aliens Ate My Homework And Other PoemsNeon Aliens Ate my Homework and other poems
Nick Cannon
For ages 6 to 8
Scholastic 2015, 978-0-545-72281-0
Ever since he was a boy, Nick Cannon has loved poetry, and poetry’s musical cousin, rap. He wrote his first rap-style poem when he was eight, and has been writing, in one form or another, ever since. Inspired by Shel Silverstein and by “the storytellers of the street,” Cannon has worked to create unique rhyming poems that will appeal to young readers. His hope is that his audience will discover for themselves how freeing it is to write.
   Cannon begins by honoring the man who had such a huge impact on his life. In his poem Remembering Shel, he thanks Shel Silverstein who “changed my life with just his words.” Cannon encourages readers to pick up one of Shel’s books and to discover for themselves the wonders that lie within.
   The poem that follows, Neon Aliens Ate my Homework, takes us into a story that is funny and that has a wonderful twist at the end. The poem is told through the eyes of a boy who is abducted by aliens from his home. The boy, fearing that the aliens are going to eat him, gives them his notebook and school backpack to munch on; but, alas, the aliens are still hungry. The boy then has no choice but to give them his “totally finished algebra worksheet.” Only them do the aliens let him go home.
   We go from this alien tale to a poem about the Gabulous Gazzor. This device is a five-armed robot that that does every chore that it is given. It can clean floors, do the grocery shopping, wash dishes and windows, and so much more. This seems all too good to be true but “just wait! There’s more!” because the machine does all these things without being a nuisance in any way. In short, folks, this is a machine that is “one of kind” and you should get one right now.
   Interspersed amongst the humorous poems, are poems of a different kind that address big world issues such as creativity, people who are “haters,” following in the footsteps of a much respected father, and lending a hand to those in need. These poems are both thoughtful and thought provoking. They give us a sense that though Nick Cannon loves to amuse his readers, he also likes to give them something to think about as well.
   Throughout the book the poems are illustrated by street artists who have shown their work “on walls all over the world.”

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