Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It

The poet, William Carlos Williams, has intrigued me for years. I was first introduced to him through the Caldecott honor book A River of Words by Jen Bryant. I find his poetry copied and imitated in many places. When I see a piece that uses one of his poems, I have to buy it.

Little Boy by Alison McGhee and Peter Reynolds uses the format of “The Red Wheelbarrow” just like Love That Dog by Sharon Creech. So much depends upon . . . Those words have the power to haunt me.

So you can imagine my joy when I discovered Gail Carson Levine’s book Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It. These poems make me laugh out loud. I knew that I wanted to compose my own poem of false apology. Gail Carson Levine states “. . . don’t even consider writing this kind of poem unless you can get yourself into a grouchy mood. You will be wasting your time.” So, I have been on the lookout for the perfect situation, because generally I am not in a grouchy frame of mind (although some may disagree with that statement, you will have to take my word for it). If you look, you will find it.

One warm day, after biking, I planned to wait for my husband on a wooden bench in the shade. As I approached the bench I could see a mass of ants swarming on a morsel of brownie that someone had left behind. My plans for resting in the shade were cancelled by this sight.

This Is Just to Say

I have flicked

the brownie piece

off the bench

I planned to rest upon

Therefore, your relatives

may not make it

home for dinner

as they were attached

Forgive me

but I need the

bench to be


My 10 For 10

August 10 for 10 #pb10for10

Picture books are a passion of mine. My husband thinks I need a 12 step program, I think I need more money for more books. When I go to a bookstore, I head to the children’s section to see what they have. I gather up a collection, sink into the too small chairs to read, enjoy, analyze, and determine if my life wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t own this book. You can guess what usually happens.

I have read the 10 for 10 lists for the last two years. It is always interesting to learn what is top on everyone’s list. I think your position influences your choices. I am no longer a classroom teacher. I retired five years ago, but now I work with K-5 teachers through professional development. I try to inspire teachers to learn about texts they may not have ever encountered. So here are my top ten choices today in alphabetical order by author:

Are You an Ant? by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries: This is just one of a series of Are You a ____? The structure of this would be a great springboard for doing a report. The information is presented in such an engaging way, all readers will learn new and interesting facts about the subject.

Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee: It describes a small moment perfectly but with so much craft.

Never Smile at a Monkey* And 17 other important things to remember by Steve Jenkins: Any book by Steve Jenkins is on my “got to have” list. He is a master at engaging the reader with fascinating facts. This book uses alliteration as it warns you of the perils of some animals.

Saturdays and Teacakes by Lester Laminack: Once teachers fall in love with this story they discover Laminack’s other books. He incorporates so much craft in his writing. If I could only pick one book, this would be it.

Dory Story by Jerry Pallotta: Pallotta is known for his nonfiction alphabet books, so this one was such a surprise when I found it. It is a gem for the story (with food chain content) and the illustrations are from all different perspectives. Plus it has a surprise ending.

Psssst! It’s Me . . . the Bogeyman by Barbara Park: The voice in this book keeps you reading and laughing all the way through. There is so much craft to discover on each page.

Ish by Peter Reynolds: This book makes it all right not to be perfect.

The Little Red Pen by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel: Another book filled with voice.

Probuditi! by Chris Van Allsburg: Van Allsburg is the master at making one think beyond the story and this book does exactly that. Of course you need to read all of his books. Choosing one is like trying to pick your favorite child. It can’t be done, but this one might not be as well-known as some of this other titles.

You Have to Write by Janet S. Wong: A perfect book to introduce writing about the common, everyday events in your life. I can’t do writing workshop without this book.

I hope I’ve piqued your curiosity and you will begin the search for some of these titles. Unfortunately, some are no longer in print, but you may be able to find them through the internet booksellers.

Head over to or to read about more book choices.