Because I Could Not Stop My Bike and Other Poems
Author: Karen Jo Shapiro; Illustrator: Matt Faulkner
Pages: 32
Publisher/Date: Whispering Coyote/Charlesbridge Publishing/2003
ISBN: 0580890350
Age Levels: All

Book Review

In this poetry picture book, Shapiro takes 26 famous English and American poems and transforms them into fresh and fun verse for children. Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "How Do I Love Thee?" becomes "How Do I Love Ketchup? Let Me Count the Ways." Joyce Kilmer's "Trees," becomes "Me: I think that I will never see, / another person just like me."

Faulkner's pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations are in perfect tune with the text. The cartoon-like, double-page spreads and spot art are lively and expressive.

What is so wonderful about this book is that it works on many levels. It is a winning choice for reading aloud to younger students. Too, teachers can use this in middle and high school classes.

Classroom Experience: We took the book into an eighth-grade Language Arts classroom where we discussed various poetic forms. We read aloud the original poem and then Shapiro's version. The students loved it. They then created their own versions of such classics as Robert Burns', "A Red, Red Rose."

Reviewed by the teachers at Education Oasis
©2004 Education Oasis®

About the Author

Karen Jo Shapiro has had a lifelong passion for writing silly poetry. A graduate of Colby College, she enjoys poking fun at the seriousness of the classic poets, while honoring their enduring talents. Karen Jo is also a clinical psychologist. She lives with her husband, daughter, and son, in Greensboro, North Carolina.

About the Illustrator

Matt Faulkner lives in a little brick house in southeast Michigan along with his son Gabe and their cats, Maizie and Leo. In addition to illustrating books, Matt teaches courses at local colleges.