"Hey, how do you do, Glue?" "I'm all stuck up, and you?" These lines come from Back in the Room for the Afternoon, one of my favorite poems from Betsy Franco's poetry compilation titled Messing Around on the Monkey Bars and other School Poems for Two Voices. Other poem titles include Weird Stuff in the Lost and Found, Homework Blues, and Me and Joe Lining Up After Recess. Franco's biography mentions that she spends time every week in her local elementary school which is not surprising since her poems capture the flavor of elementary life. Combined with Jessie Hartland's colorfully humorous illustrations, there is a bouncy joy to these poems that will capture the interest of readers and their teachers.
Messing Around on the Monkey Bars works in many ways. Shared readings in K-2, fluency practice or reader's theater in 3-5, or as an introduction to onomatopoeia (sound words) and personification are just some of the ways that you could use this book. Students would really enjoy performing these poems in front of their classmates as well.