Today’s book is our one and only poetry book on the challenge. Introducing The Noisy Classroom by Ieva Flamingo, illustrated by Vivianna Maria Stanislavska. Translated from Latvian by Zanete Vevere Psqualini, Sara Smith and Richard O’Brien (The Emma Press).
Dominic: My favourite poem is ‘The Schoolbag’s (Secret) Contents’. I’d like to take my cat with me to school.
Ellie (7 – a school friend): I like the one about the headteacher and how he got told off when he was little. It made me laugh and also think about how he is only human too.
This book is a collection of poems all about school. The illustrations are really vivid in red and blue, showing how effective pictures can be in just a few colours. On the inside covers, we are introduced to some members of the class. I love that these include Anna in a wheelchair – depicted as just another member of class. She does then have her own poem, listing the many things that she can do, stating: “She’s almost, almost exactly like me”. I think this is an important message.
Perhaps my testers were at the lower end of the recommended age group as some of the poems went over their heads a bit – I’m sitting in a Wifi Hotspot, for example – however, it’s nice thinking that as they do get older, there is still content in the book for them to grow into. My favourite poem is “School wants”, all about the boxes that kids have to tick in school but that “School doesn’t ask how I am today”.
We particularly enjoyed the section at the back where you can learn some Latvian and the tips from Richard O’Brien about writing your own poem are interesting. Dominic sometimes says he doesn’t know what to write about, as if he needs to have an amazing adventure in mind. It’s really useful for him to be told “have a think about an electronic device you or your family uses … Then see if you can turn these ideas into a poem of your own.” Great to think that you can use your everyday life as a springboard for a story or poem.