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The New Kid on the Block

Last updated Thursday, March 3, 2016

Author: Jack Prelutsky
Illustrator: James Stevenson
Date of Publication: 1984
ISBN: 0688022715
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Mar. 2016

Synopsis: Open this book to any page to begin your exploration. Here are poems about things that you may never have thought about before. You'll be introduced to jellyfish stew, a bouncing mouse, a ridiculous dog, and a boneless chicken. You'll learn why you shouldn't argue with a shark, eat a dinosaur, or have an alligator for a pet. You'll meet the world's worst singer and the greatest video game player in history. You'll even find an invitation to a dragon's birthday party....Your friends are invited too. Over 100 hilarious poems about strange creatures and people--from jellyfish stew to a bouncing mouse, and a boneless chicken. "The illustrations bring the frivolity to a fever pitch."--School Library Journal. Index.

Note to readers:
•  Read the inside cover of the book to the kids before selecting a poem. The poems can be read in any order and here is a list of poems we found entertaining: page 7, 8, 14, 36, 62, 88, 89, 124, 128, 137 and 138. Vocabulary: amok--behave uncontrollably; bellow--yell; courtesy-respectful; cantankerous-bad tempered; haggle--bargain over cost; shrill--a high pitched and piercing noise; stampeding--a sudden rush of animals in panic

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you know what a poem is? (a writing of both speech and song that is rhythmic)
•  Have you ever written a poem for someone?
•  How are songs like poems?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  If you had to write a poem about your favorite "celebration", what would the title be? (celebration includes birthday, graduation, holiday, birth of a sibling/baby etc...)
•  Some of the poems are about individual family members. Who do you know in your family that could be the character in your poem? Would your poem be happy or sad?

Craft ideas:
•  Create your own poem about your pet, sibling, favorite food or least favorite food and draw a picture to accompany your poem
•  Read the poem "Ugly Dog" on page 62 and then draw an ugly dog!
•  Check out our March craft ideas on Pinterest!

Special activities:
•  Try to "sing" one of the poems in the book.
•  Read the lyrics to your favorite song.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!