The World's Greatest Poems

Poet:  J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrator:  Keith Graves

Introduction: Children love to have bragging rights. What kid doesn't want to be the best at something? Before showing students this book of poems ask students these questions... "If you could do anything in the world better than anyone else, what would you be the best at? What world record would you set? Or break? After discussion, show students the cover and title for this book. Tell them this book is filled with poems inspired by record-breaking facts from the Guinness Book of World Records.

I actually shared this book of poetry with a group of 2nd graders recently, and they loved the poems and all the facts contained in the book.  Here are two of their favorites from, World's Greatest Poems.

2nd grade's Top Pick was "The Tallest Roller Coaster."

You're swerving north,
You're curving south,
Your stomach sits
Inside your mouth.

You hold your breath,
You lose your nerve,
You're scared to death
At every curve.

You're feeling very sick,
But then
You tell your Dad,
"Let's go again!"

(Tallest Roller Coaster:  Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, CA)

The 2nd grade's 2nd Most Favorite Poem was "The Most Cobras Kissed Consecutively."

When a cobra gives you the stare,

When a cobra wants to attack,

When a cobra gives you a chill,

When you give a cobra a kiss....

I suppose they like the poems with suspense!  After sharing this book of poems with students, we couldn't keep the copies of Guinness World Record Books on the shelves.  

Extension:  Make a Class Book of Greatest Poems

The 2nd grade teacher told me her kids want to write their own class version of "Greatest Poems."  For example, Juan ate the most hamburgers in the class or Jessica can do a headstand for the longest amount of time. What a great idea!  I ask for a copy so that we could put it in the library for other students to read.

Lewis, J. Patrick. and Keith Graves, Ill. World's Greatest Poems. 2008. Chronicle Books.

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