Cover image for Hey you! C'mere : a poetry slam
Hey you! C'mere : a poetry slam
Swados, Elizabeth.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2002.
Physical Description:
47 pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC K-2 4.1 2 Quiz: 27814 Guided reading level: NR.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3569.W17 H49 2002 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Liz Swados sets the stage for a hilarious, cathartic poetry slam, with casting and sets by Joe Cepeda.

One summer morning in the sizzling city, seven kids gather on a street corner to share the power of poetry. As they move through the neighborhood, the kids transform their experiences -- standing up to a tough kid, slurping spaghetti and ice cream, a good "hiccup cough sniff" cry -- into a poetry slam celebrating the strength and energy of their own unique voices. Elizabeth Swado's wonderfully aural work is given visual dimension by Joe Cepeda's colorful, character-ful paintings. So come along and heed the call: Hey you! C'MERE!

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4-8. «Banging on a garbage can, / Bam bam bam. / Mattie says it's time / For a poetry slam.» A pack of rowdy, urban kids bounces through this picture-book collection of beat-heavy poems, with Popsicle-colored paintings of the gleeful kids adding energy and interest. Written in the kids' voices, some selections speak about immediate experiences with a bully (a recurring character) and the joys of street life. Some poems are portraits of relatives and neighbors. Others are quick nonsense verses. The poems are uneven in quality; the last selection, a group poem in which the kids confront the neighborhood bully, particularly falls apart. But it's not the sense in the words that kids will respond to most; it's the noise and rhythm. Bursting with sounds and carefree repetition, the poems will encourage kids to play with words and beats and, like the book's poets, find inspiration everywhere: «a poem in your pocket, / a poem on your tongue.» Gillian Engberg.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Everyone's a poet, according to this exhortative poetry-reading and street-theater combo: "You've got a poem in your pocket, A poem on your tongue, did you know that? You can be the poet and you can be the poem too. Yesssss!" To prove it, seven young poets roam their city block on a summer day, using ordinary situations as material for syncopated storytelling. The players' portraits and names appear in the table of contents, so that each one is identifiable during their improv. Ratchit, a bold prankster, repeats a tough kid's threat ("Hey you, c'mere, Whatsa matter witcha"), while his friend Jacob describes a timid reaction to bullying in "A Good Cry." Mattie mimics her mother's phone voice "Yeah, uh huh, uh huh" in a song. While Doria creates a nonsense riff on "Silly Names" ("Mr. Grub T. Mudstuck, Diane Doobey Doo, Fineas Figmuff and Tina Tutoo..."), Ratchit sneaks off to play a joke on the group; after his ghostly noises inspire his friends' frightened poem, "Monsters," Ratchit laughs, then composes a reiterative "Sorry." Swados, author of the musical play Runaways, crafts an upbeat series of poems and dramatic asides. Using a crackling-hot palette of orange, summer green and blue-violet, Cepeda (What a Truly Cool World) limns a vibrant cityscape and brings out the strong personalities of the multiracial group. The slangy words and upbeat visuals suggest that poetry happens in casual conversation and friendship; readers might want to try this "slam" as a real play or spin some verse of their own. Ages 6-12. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-Swados's theatrical flair and storytelling skills are evident in this collection of free-verse, rap-style poems. A cast of kids is pictured on the contents page, and introduced right off the bat: "And Jacob rides a poem on the sidewalk/While Doria pours poems out of a pitcher./Ratchit throws a poem at your back, ouch!/It's poem time, you have poems circling around your head,/You've got a poem in your pocket,/A poem on your tongue, did you know that?" The selections explore the urban setting, the dynamics of group friendships, and the awkwardness and joys of being a kid. Not all the poems hit their mark ("Telephone," for instance, presupposes that the youngsters have never talked on the phone before) and the focus of the collection occasionally wanders. Cepeda's engaging, cartoon-style oil paintings suffuse the pages with thick and vibrant color, and match the exuberant and usually goofy mood of the selections. The kids have lines that lead from poem to poem, tracing a thin narrative that ties the book together nicely. Libraries that own Nikki Grimes's Meet Danitra Brown (Lothrop, 1994) or Tony Medina's DeShawn Days (Lee & Low, 2001) will find that this one extends their collection, with its immediately appealing look and upbeat tone that will encourage children to talk poetry.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Tough Kidsp. 8
A Good Cryp. 10
Summerp. 13
Stormp. 16
Aunt Evelynp. 18
Uh-Ohp. 21
Great Granmap. 23
Mr. Befuddledp. 24
The Telephonep. 27
Spaghettip. 29
Silly Namesp. 32
Monstersp. 34
Mep. 37
Sorryp. 42
Ice Creamp. 44
The Secretp. 46