Prelutsky, Jack (1984). The new kid on the block. New York: Greenwillow Books.
Plot Description: More than 100 funny poems and illustrations on a plethora of topics, such as why dad is so thoroughly mad, monsters, flying, goopy glue and Greasy Spoon Diners. The silly poems feature all kinds of fantastical creatures: the Flotz, boneless chicken, the Diatonic Sittymunch and the Zoosher, just to name a few. As well as interestingly named human characters like Lavinia Nink and Baloney Belly Billy, among others. The poems and illustrations collected in this book offer amusing looks at topics from the seemingly mundane (homework) to the completely insane (Gloopy Gloppers: oozing creatures looking for people to devour).
Quantitative Reading Level : Lexile Measure: N/A, Grade Level: 3.7, DRA: 38
Qualitative Reading Analysis: The poems feature figurative language such as rhyme schemes, alliteration, simile, metaphor and personification. The vocabulary is mostly familiar and conversational. However, some vocabulary may be unfamiliar to readers. Words like nitroglycerine, condescending, resounding and hullabaloo may be challenging, but they add to the cadence of the poems and their meaning can usually be gleaned from context. The poems are composed of mostly simple and complex sentences. Illustrations support the meaning of each poem and themes are clear. Some of the themes and experiences portrayed are common to readers, such as being disgusted with your brother, having a sister who is a sissy, homework, bullies and being forced to eat something they don’t like. However, many of the poems feature silly made up creatures, whose experiences are distinctly different, but are meant to be silly, strange and amusing, like the Gloopy Gloppers who are oozing their way over to find if you are ‘gloppable’.
Content Area: Language Arts (Poetry)
Content Area Standard: English Language Arts Writing
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
English Language Arts Reading: Foundational Skills
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.4.4.b Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.
English Language Arts College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
Curriculum Suggestions: Use in poetry unit to discuss rhyme schemes and have students look for examples of figurative language such as alliteration, simile, metaphor and personification. Hear the author read a poem from the book and have students practice reading it with the same intonation and rhythm as Prelutsky. Activity sheets to get students brainstorming ideas and sounds for writing their own poems.
Supporting Digital Content:
Awards: Rebecca Claudill Young Reader’s Book Award Nominee
Personal Thoughts: This is a great book for getting students interested in poetry. It has silly topics that will grab student’s attention, as well as funny illustrations.
High interest annotation: More than 100 comical poems and illustrations on a variety of childhood topics and imaginary creatures.