Peg's Reviews > Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems

Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It by Gail Carson Levine
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Mar 23, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: for-fun, highly-recommended, humor, kids_non-fiction, poetry, kids_fiction

Using William Carlos Williams’ famous non-apology poem to his wife, Levine carries his formatting to a humorous high with her spoofs of nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and school and family issues. There is even humor in the book’s design, with the Table of Contents repeating “This is Just to Say” a multitude of times as if in the cloud, followed by several poems, and then the Introduction on page 18, to Levine’s editor’s chagrin: “Instead of at the beginning/I slipped/this introduction/in here/where/my editor excruciating loudly/screeched/ it does not belong/Forgive me/I also shredded/her red pencil and stirred/the splinters into her tea”. All of the poems have a similar snarky tone as she takes on Jack and the Beanstalk (“I have chewed through the tall beanstalk/which/you recently/stepped off/way up there/Forgive me/I think/I’m worth/more than five magic beans”), and the prince in Rapunzel (“Forgive me/you’re not worth/the pain/in my scalp”). The Little Engine that Could, Red Riding Hood and the Woodsman, Pinocchio, Jack and Jill, Beauty and the Beast are all fair game, as are siblings (“. . . I sanded off/your Barbie’s face/. . .Forgive me/her beauty/was only/skin deep”), school, the dentist, neighbors (“. . . Forgive me/next time/pay me/for mowing”), as well as the reader who “may be jumping around/and skipping/pages/in this book/. . . Forgive me/I put the curse of the mummy/on anyone who reads out of order”. Cordell’s line drawings capture the mischievousness, mocking nature of the poems and sometimes aid in the understanding of the satire. Levine’s introduction includes Williams’ poem and explains it’s formatting. Teachers will find several uses for this book, from simple identification of the often-unnamed stories and rhymes to more complex writing assignments; but first, they should just share it for its fun play with words. The fun cover will draw readers to this delightful book; and once opened, they will be totally drawn in.
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