“My mother, your mother live across the street.
18, 19 Blueberry Street…”
“Candy apple on a stick
Make my tummy go 2-4-6”
Do you remember hearing or singing these rhymes on the playground when you were a kid? They came rushing into my head when I came across the book Schoolyard Rhymes by Judy Sierra and Melissa Sweet. They’re almost like folk tales—you hear them on the playground, they’re passed down from generation to generation, there are slight variations in wording, and they’re very memorable. This collection is a neat way to revisit old rhymes and learn new ones.
The library is a great place to find poetry picture books and chapter books. There are many poetry books—like Schoolyard Rhymes—that feature familiar school settings: the classroom, cafeteria, school bus, playground, and more. Many are funny collections that can entertain kids as they ease into a new year. I’ve collected a few titles here.
Celebrate this exciting year of new experiences with these two books.
- The Twelve Days of Kindergarten
by Deborah Lee Rose; Illustrations by Carey Armstrong-Ellis
- Kindergarten Kids: Riddles, Rebuses, Wiggles, Giggles, and More!
by Stephanie Calmenson; illustrations by Melissa Sweet
It’s always fun to look forward to special occasions, and some of us get a kick out of crossing off the days on a calendar. In the context of school, two highly anticipated days are the 100th day of school and the last day of the school year. These fun countdown books feature one new poem a day.
- Countdown to Summer: A Poem for Every Day of the School Year
by J. Patrick Lewis; illustrations by Ethan Long
- Counting Our Way to 100th Day!
by Betsy Franco; illustrations by Steven Salerno
Jack Prelutsky is one of the most popular and prolific American children’s poets. He was the first officially appointed Children's Poet Laureate. His poems are often humorous and full of wordplay. Also a musician, Prelutsky grew up in New York and was involved in the folk music scene, where he befriended Bob Dylan. Visit the library’s Literature Resource Center or Jack Prelutsky’s website for more information about the author and his writings.
- There’s No Place Like School: Classroom Poems
selected by Jack Prelutsky; illustrations by Jane Manning
- What a Day It Was at School!
by Jack Prelutsky
Wait, There’s More
Here are some more books that kids are sure to enjoy inside and outside of the classroom.
- My Name is Jorge on Both Sides of the River
by Jane Medina; illustrations by Fabricio Vanden Broeck
- Put Your Eyes Up Here, and Other School Poems
by Kalli Dakos; illustrations by G. Brian Karas
Karen Choy is the youth services librarian in Half Moon Bay.