What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About?
Poems for When a Person Needs a Poem
Other Editions of This Title:
Did you wake up this morning all smiley inside?
Does life taste like ice cream and cake?
Or does it seem more like your goldfish just died
And your insides are one great big ache?
From school to family to friends, from Grrrr to Hooray!, Judith Viorst takes us on a tour of feelings of all kinds in this thoughtful, funny, and charming collection of poetry that’s perfect for young readers just learning to sort out their own emotions.
Praise For What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About?: Poems for When a Person Needs a Poem…
— Kirkus Reviews
Viorst’s most famous book is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very
Bad Day, and this collection of over fifty poems expresses the same wry humor
and sharp observation about the range of feelings children experience in their
everyday lives. Viorst plays with school subjects such as reading, writing, and
“arithmetrick” (in the “School Stuff” section), and there are poems about competition
with friends (the “Friends and Other People” section), bossy moms (“About
the Family”), and the mystery of time sometimes seeming fast and sometimes
slow. But the strongest poems go to the heart of feelings, such as worrying: “I
like the sun hot on my back. / If killer sharks did not attack, / I’d like beaches.”
One especially poignant piece deals with breaking up with a best friend: “We’ve
never had an argument, or even a small fuss, / But I’m not my best friend’s best
friend anymore.” White’s illustrations bring zany humor to the poems, and even
sometimes add their own little twist, as in “Whoops,” where a poem about trying
to reach something high up is pictured with someone reaching for a treasure chest
on the back of a dragon. From a riff on The Sound of Music (“My Least Favorite
Things”) to a clever poem pondering the purpose of toes, this collection will
delight kids and the adults who read it aloud, too.
— The Horn Book Magazine
In this newest collection of poetry, Viorst captures the experience of childhood through 11 rich categories, such as school, family, friends, and seasons. With a rhyming narrative, humor, and a sampling of haiku, Viorst touches on themes relevant to children, including losing friendships, bullying, coping with bothersome siblings, and facing fears. White’s soft, whimsical illustrations help create an imaginative space for readers to explore troubling emotions. In “The Best and the Worst,” for instance, a young boy walks a tightrope of Christmas lights between his parents, with his dad offers a surfboard on one side and his mom a horse on the other. Viorst writes, “They’d promise me Hawaii/They’d promise me a horse,/If that made me not notice/They’re getting a divorce.” Other, more humorous verse lightens the mood. In “Arithmetrick,” Viorst challenges kids to take any number, and after a series of calculations, they’ll realize they end up with the number 10. Children will delight in figuring out the trick andtrying it out on others. VERDICT-Although there are missteps with some rhymes, generating an uneven selection, Viorst’s comedic talents, ability to engagereaders, and coverage of universal topics make this an appealing choice.–Rachel Zuffa, Racine Public Library, WI
— School Library Journal
In poems grouped into categoriesincluding school, family, and friends, Viorst thoughtfully explores the ups anddowns of children’s lives, without glossing over tough moments—or humans’ sometimesless-than-admirable instincts. In one poem, the narrator contemplates hersomewhat distant father’s happiness (“He’s always watching over us./ Here’swhat I want to know:/ Is anyone watching over him?”), while a retaliatory entrylater on addresses “What to Do with a Bully” (“You could give him a fat lip,/Stick your foot out—make him trip”). In loose cartoons accented with a drabpale blue, White (The Maine Coon’s Haiku) amplifies the strong emotions atplay, from delight in a grandfather’s grilled-cheese-making prowess to sadnessover losing a best friend (White shows a girl staring sadly out the window, asevered tin-can “phone” in her hand). Whatever readers’ mood may be, they willprobably find a poem that suits it. Ages 6–9.
— Publishers Weekly
And how are you feeling today? Lonely, jealous, scared, silly? Fighting bullies or trying out for the school
play? Having methodically explored every adult decade of passage in previous works, beloved author
Viorst handily focuses on the emotions of her young audience in poems such as “I’m Not My Best
Friend’s Friend Anymore” and “What I Want to Know about My Dad.” As Viorst knows, even the best
parents get divorced, and sometimes you might get a baby sibling without ever being asked if you even
wanted one. Readers and listeners will find rhyming verses about school, family, friends, seasons, and
more, all using vocabulary that tickles. White’s blue-and-black illustrations match the feelings, whether
whimsical or skeptical. Ever honest, the best lines are those that share the confusion, challenges, and
questions of what it means to be you: “Too old to keep my teddy bear, / Too young to let him go. / I’m in
between and waiting / For the rest of me to grow.”
Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 9781481423557, 112pp.
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
About the Author
Lee White lives with his wife and their three crazy cats in Portland, Oregon, and you can visit him online at LeeWhiteIllustration.com.