I Know an Old Teacher, by Anne Bowen

For Poetry Friday today, I have I know an Old Teacher, by Anne Bowen, illustrated by Stephen Gammell (2008, Carolrhoda Books), which arrived today from the publisher (thanks).

All right, I'm stretching things a bit to write about this book in a Poetry Friday post. It's actually a cumulative story (you know, the old lady who swallowed a fly deal). But heck, there are rhymes.

"I know an old teacher who swallowed a flea.
It fell from her hair and plopped into her tea."

And things progress--a spider, a fish, a rat, a snake...one by one, all the class pets make their way down Miss Bindley's throat, while her students outside watch through the windows in horror. Will one of them be next!!???!!!

This is gruesome stuff, but the yuck factor might well appeal to the strong-stomached child. I myself like the horrified asides of the children best!

"She's GOT our Lizzie."
"She can't have Lizzie!"
"Well, she's GOT her!"
"Going, going..."
"Poor Lizzie."

The illustrations are colorfully frenetic distortions of reality-- a great accompaniment to the story!

I am writing this at my local library, where it is Game Day (speaking of frenetic). I have just passed the book on to a random nine year old boy, who has his nose in it.....time passes...."Here you go," he says, giving it back. "Funny!"

Poetry Friday is at Author Amok today.

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