Please Bury Me in the Library
Author: J. Patrick Lewis; Illustrator: Kyle M. Stone
Pages: 32
Publisher/Date: Gulliver Books/Harcourt/2005
ISBN: 0152163875
Age Levels: 6 and up

Book Review

The consensus among the teachers here at the Oasis: Please Bury Me in the Library is one of our top ten all-time-favorite books. After reading it, each of us immediately went to the bookstore to buy a copy for her or his classroom.

What is so wonderful, you ask? Everything! The poems are gems, full of witty word-play and humor and an occasional serious moment.

As you might imagine from the title, the poems are about books and reading and words. In "The Big-Word Girl" we meet Elaine who "could not unglue her eyes/ From Webster’s Dictionary" (even though she sits at a horror show—Godzilla Meets Tooth Fairy—with a green monster at her side).

In "Flea-ting Fame" we meet Otto the flea, a "fly-by-night," who is writing by firefly light his "Ottobiography."

Although this is a picture book, it offers something for word lovers of all ages. In "Three Haiku," for example, we read:

Epitaph for a
Devoted Lifelong Reader—
Thank you for the plot


Late at night, reading
Frankenstein . . . and suddenly
a pain in the neck.

Kyle M. Stone was the perfect choice as illustrator. The acrylic paintings and mixed media illustrations are as clever and beguiling as the poems they accompany. "What if Books Had Different Names," for example, sits next to a painting of an endearing, thin bodied, lobster-bibbed lamb waiting to tuck into a plate of green eggs and spam.

Classroom Experience: Suitable for read-alouds, independent reading, and even middle school classrooms.

We took the book into an eighth-grade language arts classroom where it was extremely popular. The students were especially enamored with the illustrations. After reading the poem "Necessary Gardens" (an acrostic spelling out the word "Language'), we had the students write an acrostic about their favorite person, place, or thing and then illustrate their poem.

Highly recommended.

Reviewed by the teachers at Education Oasis
©2005 Education Oasis

About the Author

J. Patrick Lewis has written more than thirty-five books for children, including Arithme-Tickle and Scien-Trickery, both illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz. He lives in Ohio. Be sure to visit the author's website.

About the Illustrator

Kyle M. Stone makes his picture-book debut with Please Bury Me in the Library. He lives in Kansas.