Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook Press, 2015

Along with National School Library Month, April is National Poetry Month (April is busy!), so what better time to talk about limericks?  Something Sure Smells Around Hereis a book full of funny limericks with punchlines kids will get.  Author Brian Cleary uses puns, idioms, and other clever wordplay, mixing poetry and comedy in a way that will appeal to students and adults alike.  Even better, Cleary uses roads less traveled in crafting his limericks; none of them start with “There once was a boy from…,” and, thankfully, no one is from Nantucket.

This introduction to limericks opens with an explanation of structure of a limerick and the important elements of writing one. Cleary points out that a limerick is a short and concise story – each one has a beginning, middle, and end, which is usually a punchline.  He even wraps up this collection with an incomplete limerick to start would-be poets on 5-lined adventures of their own.

Other plusses: ELL teachers have praised Something Sure Smells for its use of puns and idioms, two particularly difficult concepts for English language learners to master; the artwork complements and supports the poetry; it includes recommendations for further reading; it’s a lighthearted introduction to a poetry unit; and is a great study for use of beat and rhythm in language.

Students that enjoy Jack Prelutsky’s books will also enjoy this volume of poetry.  It is a must-add to any elementary and possibly middle school poetry section.

Idaho Core Standards: Reading Standards for Literature: Grade 3, Standards 1, 4, 5, 7; Grade 4, Standards 1, 5, 6; Grade 5, Standards 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9; and Grade 6, Standards 1, 2, 4, 5.

Dewey:  808.1                                                              Interest Level: Grades 3-6

Awards and Reviews:  Booklist; Kirkus Reviews; School Library Journal.

Middle school poets might like: Immersed in Verse: An Informative, Slightly Irreverant & Totally Tremendous Guide to Living the Poet’s Life by Allan Wolf.

Older poets might like: Beauty Poetry: “She Walks in Beauty” by Sheila Griffin Llanas.

Fiction Pairings: Hate That Cat and Love That Dog by Sharon Creech.

On the Web:

The World of Brian Cleary invites us to explore Brian’s office.  Visitors can rifle through his file cabinet, find the Word of the Week and the Poem of the Week in his desk drawers, and find interactive books hanging on the wall. Librarians can find information on school visits, too.  Super fun!

Event: To mark National Poetry Month, schools can participate in Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 30, 2015. Elementary students could make a pocket to carry their poems for the day and older students can tweet their favorite poems at #pocketpoem. Get more clever ideas to use for your school’s celebration athttp://www.poets.org/national-poetry-month/poem-your-pocket-day.