Just Imagine

A Kid In My Class

Authored by Rachel Rooney
Illustrated by Chris Riddell
Published by Otter Barry Books

This poetry book is set to live in that special section on my bookshelf where I keep the ones that I return to again and again. Each poem tells the story of a child who will be familiar to the reader and one you will find in every classroom making the book a ‘class of full of people rather than a collection of poems’. There’s the child who asks endless questions, the day dreamer, the tough kid, the cool kid (cooler than frozen peas) and the fidget.

Chris Riddell’s beautiful character illustrations adorn each page and are matched perfectly to bring each poem to life.  The endpapers contain twenty four fabulous portraits each with their own hidden story and I could easily spend an hour pouring over these in a classroom before even beginning the book.

Children will be easily able to identify with the funny and quirky characters who are reimagined as monsters, dragons, cats and bears. Which animal would you be?

The poetry is clever, mischievous and allows us to take a humorous look at ourselves through the diverse range of voices and characters that surround us. The language is rich and varied and gives many opportunities to enjoy a fantastic range of vocabulary, rhyme and rhythm.

There are also more poignant poems such as ‘Friendship Bench’ in which a child is now remembered by her name engraved on the school bench. This book could easily be used to compliment PSHE work and discussions on tolerance, celebrating differences and caring for one another.

Poetry still doesn’t make enough appearances in the primary classroom and this little gem of a book is perfect for an assembly, dipping into with five minutes to spare or for reading a page a day just to enjoy meeting whoever appears next.