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A Kid in my Class

A Kid in My Class Poems

Published: 2 Aug 2018

Hardback, 88 pages

Recommended for age 7+ and 9+

By Rachel Rooney

Illustrated by Chris Riddell

Published by Otter-Barry Books Ltd

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Eagerly anticipated new collection of poems by one of the top children's poets writing today, with stunning illustrations by Chris Riddell.

"He's not scared of nothing. Nobody. Never.

Nah. Which means that he is. Tough Kid.

Not tough enough. I know - I once met his dad. "They're all here...every kid in the class has their own poem. The pushy one, the shy one.

The whizz kid and the daydreamer. The best friender and the kid who runs in his wheelchair. The tough kid, the poet.

And not forgetting the class hamster. This eagerly awaited new collection from an outstanding poet, winner of the CLiPPA Award, is perfectly matched by the amazing wit and inventiveness of the former UK Children's Laureate.

Reviewed by Caroline Ash

A Kid In My Class is a poetry book set to live in that special section on my bookshelf where I keep the ones that I return to again and again. Each poem tells the story of a child who will be familiar to the reader and one you will find in every classroom making the book a ‘class of full of people rather than a collection of poems’. There’s the child who asks endless questions, the day dreamer, the tough kid, the cool kid (cooler than frozen peas) and the fidget.

Chris Riddell’s beautiful character illustrations adorn each page and are matched perfectly to bring each poem to life.  The endpapers contain twenty four fabulous portraits each with their own hidden story and I could easily spend an hour pouring over these in a classroom before even beginning the book.

Children will be easily able to identify with the funny and quirky characters who are reimagined as monsters, dragons, cats and bears. Which animal would you be?

The poetry is clever, mischievous and allows us to take a humorous look at ourselves through the diverse range of voices and characters that surround us. The language is rich and varied and gives many opportunities to enjoy a fantastic range of vocabulary, rhyme and rhythm.

There are also more poignant poems such as ‘Friendship Bench’ in which a child is now remembered by her name engraved on the school bench. A Kid In My Class could easily be used to compliment PSHE work and discussions on tolerance, celebrating differences and caring for one another.

Poetry still doesn’t make enough appearances in the primary classroom and this little gem of a book is perfect for an assembly, dipping into with five minutes to spare or for reading a page a day just to enjoy meeting whoever appears next.


Caroline is the Deputy Head Teacher of a large Northumberland Primary School and a literacy specialist. She has just completed a masters degree in leading learning and has been researching the impact of developing vocabulary through picture books. Caroline is also a passionate advocate for promoting gender equality in primary schools and is a member of the steering group for The Gender Charter.