________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 19. . . .January 18, 2013


Toes in My Nose and Other Poems. (A Sheree Fitch Classic).

Sheree Fitch. Illustrated by Sydney Smith.
Halifax, NS: Nimbus, 2012.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
ISBN 978-1-55109-939-2.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Reesa Cohen.

**** /4



I stuck my toes
In my nose
And I couldn’t get them out.
It looked a little strange
And people began to shout

“Why would you ever?
My goodness- I never!”

They got in a terrible snit
“It’s simple,” I said
As they put me to bed
“I just wanted to see
if they fit.”


This collection of poetry by award-winning Sheree Fitch has been released as a part of a new series, “A Sheree Fitch Classic”. Fitch has described how her job is to write nonsense poetry, which she loves, and that this particular title originated after she saw her own baby try to put his toes in his nose. She has said in numerous interviews that much of her poetry is inspired by “everyday things that happened in and around our household and neighborhood” From intriguing questions of “How do you get the honey from the bottle to the Bread?”, the difficulty of having William Worm as a pet, or what to do with a pocket full of rocks, to warnings about watermelon seeds, her poetry just enchants, is outrageously delicious and begs to be read aloud. Perhaps it is Fitch’s authentic childlike voice, as she wonders about thunder or is thinking about all the items in her closet, that appeals and speaks to the reader.


My sucker stuck to my sweater
My sucker stuck in my hair
Mum had to get the scissors
To cut it out of there.
All because of my sucker
There’s a bald spot on my head
To tell the truth
I’d rather have
That sucker stuck instead.

     Fitch's ability to inspire adults and children to giggle together at her wonderful blend of nonsense and commonsense shines throughout the collection. Words are her tools, and she uses with them with great dexterity. When asked about the exuberance of her poetry, Fitch has described her poetry as being “sprinkled with my imagination and love of word, music and the joy of getting tongues tangled.” Her own description, especially of her fun use of language, is spot on because her whimsical poetry is great fun to chant, and the result is a sense of rhythm and cadence that sparkles in all her writings.internal art

     Toes in My Nose and Other Poems is a wonderful example of poems full of bouncing rhythms, delightful rhymes and enchanting sounds. Though originally written 25 years ago, the volume’s contents will still bring joy today to both young and old alike. A recipient of the Vicky Metcalf Award in 2000 for writings that are inspirational to Canadian Children, Sheree Fitch continues to inspire as a performance poet, an educator, an author and an activist.

     This edition is accompanied by new illustrations from Sydney Smith. The colourful and expressive drawings mimic the mirthful rhymes and do justice to the poet’s delightful wild language. They are busy, full of energy, and they have a cartoon-like effect that captures the rollicking joy of the text.

Highly Recommended.

Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children’s Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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