“Please Mrs Butler,
this boy Derek Drew,
keeps copying my work, Miss.
What shall I do?”
This book is nostalgia objectified for me. I remember going to the bookshop in town with my grandparents – we went there a couple of times a week – to get this book. I had seen it the week before, whilst buying my weekly treat of a ‘Famous Five’ book and begged all week for it. It was my first poetry book, and I loved it.
The poems cover all aspects of primary school life from substitute teachers to playtime and falling out with your friends to home time. I found them to be written in a way that children can easily grasp them and the issues that are brought up can be easily discussed with parents and teachers alike.
Reading the book again as an adult, I still enjoy it. There are several different types of poetry used in the book and the majority of them are supposed to be read as though they are a child speaking. I also love how Ahlberg (an ex teacher himself) has put the poems in an order that echoes the structure of a school day. He begins with poems about school time, then on to playtime and dinner time, back to school time again and then home time.
I think ‘Please Mrs Butler’ will always be a go-to book for me. I love the memories it brings back. Memories of giggling in class with my friends, making birds nests on the school field out of the grass cuttings and playing kiss chase with the boys. The main thing I love about this book, though, is it’s just plain funny. I’m off to read it again…