Monday, April 9, 2012

Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It - by Gail Carson Levine (ages 8 - 10)

If you're looking for a book that will tickle your 3rd or 4th grader's funny bone, pick up a copy of Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It. At first glance, these poems might seem a bit off kilter, but they are perfect for kids who like a twist, something brief but perhaps unexpected.
Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It
illustrated by Matthew Cordell
NY: HarperCollins, 2012
ages 7 - 10
available from your local library, favorite bookstore or on Amazon
Do you know the poem by William Carlos Williams' poem "This is Just to Say", in which he describes the delicious plums which he has just eaten from the refrigerator. He leaves a note apologizing for eating the plums, which you were probably saving for breakfast. But is he really apologizing?

Gail Carson Levine uses the framework and format from Williams' poem to spin her own deviously funny false apology poems. From fairy tales to nursery rhymes to sibling rivalry, Levine uses stories and situations that kids know to turn them on their heads and bring out the unexpected. Here is the cow from Jack in the Beanstalk:
This is Just to Say

"I have chewed
the tall
you recently
stepped off
way up there
Forgive me
I think
I'm worth
more than five magic beans."
-- by Gail Carson Levine
This collection is perfect for 3rd and 4th graders who know these stories and can appreciate the twisted perspectives - the unappreciated cow taking revenge on Jack. These nine and ten year olds are also in a perfect place to try writing their own poems.

Here's another poem favorite my students love from this collection. Take a look at the poem on the right, below, and see if you can figure out why the parents are trapped in the cage. Head over to artist Matthew Cordell's blog to see this more clearly and read a selection of poems from the book.
For other reviews, check out Franki's at A Year of Reading, Betsy's at Fuse #8.

The review copy was shared by my favorite local bookstore, Mrs. Dalloway's in Berkeley. We will be buying a copy from Mrs. Dalloway's and donating it to our local school. Support your local schools and bookstores - make a donation to your local school library during April to celebrate School Library Month. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books


  1. Great notes on a unique and fun new title. I was lucky enough to have an early ARC of this title and posted a review at my blog:
    Hope your post leads many readers to discover it, too.

  2. I just bought this book last Friday after hearing so many great things about it. It is 2nd in my TBR pile. I'm really looking forward to it!!