Kirkus and SlJ reviews for After the Bell Rings...

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Poems About After-School Time
Author: Carol Diggory Shields
Illustrator: Paul Meisel

Review Issue Date: November 15, 2014
Online Publish Date: November 4, 2014
Pages: 32
Price ( Hardcover ): $16.99
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-8037-3805-8
Category: Poetry

Twenty-two light poems and accompanying illustrations explore what happens after school.Veteran author-illustrator duo Shields and Meisel team up again (Someone Used My Toothbrush and Other Bathroom Poems, 2010, etc.) to depict the full spectrum of fun to be had after school lets out. Looking at what typically happens at the end of the school day—homework, snacking, being reunited with pets, car pools, texting friends, a little instrument practice—Shields and Meisel paint a realistic portrait of how kids feel about these activities. From the opening pair of "2:48" poems, Shields quickly establishes the collection's light, edgy tone, showing how student and teacher alike often find the last two minutes of the day "the slowest of all." By week's end, Shields cleverly uses end rhyme to highlight the irony to be found in a "Friday Night" sleepover: "We call it sleeping over— / That's not exactly true. / We bring along our sleeping bags, / But sleep? Not what we do." Throughout the volume, Meisel's dynamic, childlike mixed-media illustrations effectively underscore the child's perspective these poems so often provide. But occasionally Shields also shares some important advice as a former child, enlightening young readers as to the dangers of saying, "I'm bored!" to one's parents or trying to mask unauthorized video game usage behind a beatific smile. Smart and sassy poems and accessible illustrations combine for an engaging, humorous package. (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)



SHIELDS, Carol Diggory. After the Bell Rings. illus. by Paul Meisel. 32p. Dial. Feb. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780803738058. LC 2014002797.

Gr 2-5–In 22 colorfully illustrated poems, Shields captures multiple perspectives on the favorite part of many kids’ school day—the end. The book opens with the anticipation of the dismissal bell from the perspective of the students and the teacher. Readers will connect with the familiar scenario of feeling “like the clock on the wall has stopped.” From there, the poet explores some of kids’ extracurricular activities. “Level 5” shows the realistic struggle between a desire to play video games and the obligation to do one’s homework. Shields’s lines will resonate with readers (“She put her hand on the warm TV. ‘Guess what, kid? You’re busted.’”). “Manga” is a cleverly written poem that will leave some children scratching their heads because of its right-to-left text flow. “Txt msgs” is a conversation poem written in text-speak. Shields even includes a verse about the dangers of saying “I’m bored,” which leads to a never-ending chore list. The eye-catching artwork done in acrylic, gouache, and colored pencil is sure to appeal to many readers along with the humor, rhyme, and universal topics.–Andy Plemmons, David C. Barrow Elementary, Athens, GA

Paul Meisel

Children's Book Author and Illustrator