My Sneezes Are Perfect – at a glance
The School Reading Lists’ five word review: astounding, profound, moving and permanent.
Children’s book title: My Sneezes Are Perfect: Poems For Children.
Children’s poet: Rakhshan Rizwan and Yusuf Samee.
Children’s illustrator: Benjamin Phillips.
Genre: poetry for children aged 3-11.
Published by: The Emma Press.
Recommended for children aged: 3-11.
This edition published: Paperback February 2021.
This children’s book is ideal for: reading to and discussing with younger children.
Another gem from The Emma Press in Birmingham!
The authors, mother and son (aged six,) have put together a serious, engaging and thought-provoking collection of poems, observations, meditations and memories of their lives, particularly in the Netherlands and America.
Yusuf’s interests and concerns (like most inquisitive youngsters just starting school) centre around numbers, collecting things, eating things, the mysteries of the past and what the earth holds under its surface. And, of course, bodily functions and how funny and strange they are.
‘Burps and Farts’ is bound to be a hit with children as young as three, while ‘Poop’ will bring a smile of recognition to the faces of kids as old as seventy.
But this book has grown out of serious, worrying times, which might well become even more so. How do parents explain, and how do their children cope with the changes that have been made necessary over the past year? When the tide of Covid finally recedes, how much silt will it leave in its wake? Rakhshan Rizwan, calmly and with humour and wisdom, offers her son hope and assurance.
This is most apparent in a poem called ‘Intruder Drill Is Scary.’ In the UK many of us find it inexplicable that in America, if you have the right paperwork, you can wander into Walmart and buy enough weaponry and ammunition to wipe out a whole school. The erstwhile President thought the solution should involve the arming of teachers. The compromise they’ve evolved is to prepare for the worst and see what happens.
I really admired Benjamin Phillips’ careful, sparse illustrations. The one on page 25, showing a child tensely crouched under a chair, is perfect.
Many thanks to The Emma Press for the review copy.
If you like My Sneezes Are Perfect you might also like: our collection of Year 3 books, Poems the Wind Blew in by Karmelo C. Iribarren, Daydreams and Jellybeans by Alex Wharton, On the Move by Michael Rosen and When It Rains by Rassi Narika.