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AFTER THE BELL RINGS by Carol Diggory Shields


Poems About After-School Time

by Carol Diggory Shields ; illustrated by Paul Meisel

Pub Date: Feb. 24th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3805-8
Publisher: Dial Books

Twenty-two light poems and accompanying illustrations explore what happens after school.

Veteran author-illustrator duo Shields and Meisel team up again (Someone Used My Toothbrush and Other Bathroom Poems, 2010, etc.) to depict the full spectrum of fun to be had after school lets out. Looking at what typically happens at the end of the school day—homework, snacking, being reunited with pets, car pools, texting friends, a little instrument practice—Shields and Meisel paint a realistic portrait of how kids feel about these activities. From the opening pair of “2:48” poems, Shields quickly establishes the collection’s light, edgy tone, showing how student and teacher alike often find the last two minutes of the day “the slowest of all.” By week’s end, Shields cleverly uses end rhyme to highlight the irony to be found in a “Friday Night” sleepover: “We call it sleeping over— / That’s not exactly true. / We bring along our sleeping bags, / But sleep? Not what we do.” Throughout the volume, Meisel’s dynamic, childlike mixed-media illustrations effectively underscore the child’s perspective these poems so often provide. But occasionally Shields also shares some important advice as a former child, enlightening young readers as to the dangers of saying, “I’m bored!” to one’s parents or trying to mask unauthorized video game usage behind a beatific smile.

Smart and sassy poems and accessible illustrations combine for an engaging, humorous package.

(Picture book/poetry. 6-10)