Jelly Boots, Smelly Boots

Authored by Michael Rosen
Illustrated by David Tazzyman
Published by Bloomsbury Children's

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Jelly Boots, Smelly Boots is a sure-fire winner tried and tested in my classroom. There haven’t been as many laughs in my year one classroom as there were when I performed ‘Grandad’s Complaining About His Cold’ for quite some time! The children and I spent a happy week rehearsing and performing the poems in this hilarious collection. The illustrations did not only serve to illuminate the poems, the children also found that they helped to deepen their understanding of the poems where perhaps the vocabulary or wordplay was slightly beyond their comprehension.

I have been interested in working with my class this year on developing their understanding of wordplay and idioms. This collection of poems served to provide us with witty examples that challenged and entertained. The poem ‘To’, for example, presented me with a fantastic opportunity to teach the difference in meaning and spelling between to, too and two and resulted in as group of children creating a poster to explain the differences.

Michael Rosen, hilarious as he is, also manages to make you stop and think. Nestled in alongside the wild and exuberant, you will also find the thought-provoking. I won’t spoil them for you by discussing them here but take some time to delve into ‘Names’ and ‘Joining Things Together’. David Tazzyman’s illustrations add a further element of fun.

In Jelly Boots, Smelly Boots, Rosen continues to explore the rhythms and rhymes, sounds and stories and what wild fun and thoughtful meaning can be created when different words are coupled together. A short poem towards the end of the book summed up, for me, what Rosen is so good at. It’s called ‘Words’ and begins:

Words are presents

That we give each other…

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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