When I finished reading I’m Just No Good at Rhyming (And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups) by Chris Harris, illustrated by Lane Smith, to my kids, my older two begged for their own copy of this hilarious book. We laughed together and formed new inside jokes about several of these poems.
My kids and I have long been fans of Shel Silverstein’s poetry. He get’s kid humor and manages to wind sweetness into poems that seem less than serious. When I began reading I’m Just No Good at Rhyming to my kids, I felt like we’d found a new Shel Silverstein in Chris Harris.
Many of Harris’s poems are laugh-out-loud funny (for both kids and adults). And this book isn’t just a collection of unconnected poems. Themes are developed and repeated throughout the book, both silly and serious. These include a running argument between the author and illustrator, a repeating poem titled “The Door”, and three tongue-in-cheek poems about grown-ups being better than kids.
But what I really loved about this book was the element of love and regard that Harris obviously holds for his child reader. He encourages kids to remember their vision of the world at age ten in “You’ll Never Feel as Tall as When You’re Ten.” He reminds us that kids are better at “just about all things that matter” in “Grown-Ups Are Better (I).”
But the poem that really makes this book so heartwarming and brings the rest together is “Let’s Meet Right Here In Twenty-Five Years.” This final poem is really for the adult reader, whether that’s the read-aloud parent or the grown child now returning to this book. It assures that the child reader will grow into a “magnificent grown-up” which the book just can’t wait to see.
Parents should know that, also similar to Shel Silverstein’s poetry, this book contains a dose of what I call “playground humor,” which include words like “stupid” or “in your face” and some grossness.
So, if you’re looking for a book to hook your kids on poetry, I’m Just No Good At Rhyming is a super place to start. If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll beg you to keep reading.