Review: Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It by Gail Carson Levine

forgive me i meant to do it

Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems by Gail Carson Levine, illustrated by Matthew Cordell

Based on William Carlos Williams’s “This Is Just to Say” poem, these poems borrow the form and the apology but build upon it with a wild array of situations.  In each poem, an apology is offered, but all of them are done conditionally and many are completely insincere.  There is an apology for eating all of the ice cream and replacing it with anchovies.  There is an apology for turning a bully into a fly and having a swatter ready to go.  Then there are many apologies based on fairy tales or songs that children will enjoy seeing from a new and inventive perspective.  This is a book to pick up and read out of order, unless of course you stumble upon one of the apologies the author has included that might make you reconsider that approach! 

I’m always on the look out for funny poems to share with children, since I’ve found that Prelutsky and Silverstein make a great ice breaker when talking with groups.  Even the jaded upper elementary class can be caught off guard by a charmer of a poem, especially one that elicits guffaws and merriment.  I can see these very short poems being shared in groupings as part of a class visit.  Perhaps interspersed with information about the library and its offerings.

The entire work is very funny, though some of the poems work better than others.  The illustrations hearken to Silverstein’s work with the ink drawings done without additional color.  They have a wonderful frenetic energy to them and also a delight at the situations. 

This will be a welcome addition in elementary classrooms that are working with poetry.  It also makes for a great giggly bedtime read.  Appropriate for ages 7-10. 

Reviewed from library copy.