Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools Deborah Gist reviews Jack Prelutsky's  collection of poems, "New Kid on the Block," in this week's edition of Frontier Reads.

Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist reviews “The New Kid on the Block,” a collection of poems by Jack Prelutsky, in this week’s edition of Frontier Reads.

If you follow me on Twitter (@deborahgist), you’ll notice that my bio includes the line “always a teacher at heart,” so when The Frontier asked for a book review, I couldn’t resist a chance to share a book that I love to read with children.

“The New Kid on the Block” is a fun collection of poems by Jack Prelutsky, accompanied by lively illustrations from James Stevenson.

My favorite thing about Prelutsky’s poetry is that it transcends grade levels. Students of all ages can enjoy poems about tasty Yubbazubbies, the unique singing voice of Euphonica Jarre, or hide-and-seek expert Sneaky Sue.

Recently, I had an opportunity to share a few Thanksgiving poems from another of Prelutsky’s collections with students at Mayo Demonstration School. We read about exploding turkeys, delicious meals and the fun of watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade from the warmth and comfort of home.

Although these poems were written long before these students were born, Prelutsky’s exaggerated – and funny – depictions of childhood traditions are timeless.

The next time you’re with a group of children and you’ve run out of ideas for a good activity, check out page 93 of “The New Kid on the Block” and the epic duel of the Mungle and the Munn!

Deborah Gist is superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools. Her favorite book is “Cage-Busting Leadership” by Frederick M. Hess.