Poem in My Pocket by Chris Tougas, illustrated by Josée Bisaillon


Poem in My Pocket by Chris Tougas, illustrated by Josée Bisaillon. Kids Can Press, 9781525301452, 2021

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre:  Picture book – poetry

What did you like about the book?  A young girl ‘loses’ her poem when her pocket rips and the “rhymes tumble down” and trickle from her hip. The words start to hit the ground and blow around, and the words themselves become a jumbled up mess. They form into puns, and idioms, and try as she might, she can’t get the poem right. Just as she makes progress, the wind blows again, taking her words in its path. Thunder rolls in and beats the words down into the muddy earth. Then, the ‘seeds’ are planted, and rising from the ground is a poetree!  This delightfully innovative romp through the writing process provides an irresistible invitation to young children to enjoy words and the power they can hold in poetic form. It also lends credence to the fact that writing, especially poetry, can be a difficult endeavor. Children will discover that with patience, creativity, and an open mind, anyone can write a poem. The illustrations are digitally rendered, yet have a watercolor vibe with a blend of vibrant and muted colors. They provide a perfect backdrop for the words that literally float across their pages. Young children will enjoy helping to identify rhyming words, decoding the mixed-up words, and perhaps using the words as a springboard for their own poetry. The end page invites readers to look for the rhyming pairs it has listed, as well as giving the ‘answers’ to the jumbled words. The author shares and encourages participation in the event Poem in Your Pocket Day that occurs every April, and he provides additional places to visit online for more information.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No, it is a wonderful book! One small point: The reading experience could be more interactive if the author prompted younger readers to find the rhymes and to unscramble the mixed-up words on the pages themselves rather than giving the ‘answers’ and inviting that interaction on the end page. It isn’t a major issue, however, that would make the experience more engaging for children reading it independently. 

To whom would you recommend this book?  This book would be a wonderful accompaniment to a poetry unit of study in an elementary classroom, either as a whole class lesson or as part of a writing center. Adults who read it aloud should prompt students to find rhyming pairs and to unscramble words on their respective pages. Young children who enjoy words and poetry will enjoy this playful text.

Who should buy this book? Elementary and public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Linda Broderick, Lincoln Street Elementary School, Northboro, MA

Date of review: 4/23/2021

This entry was posted in *Book Review, *Picture Book, *Starred Review, Chris Tougas, Josée Bisaillon, Poetry, Rhyming and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.