Is That a Rocket in Your Pocket?

Rocket in my pocketA Rocket in my Pocket: The Rhymes and Chants of Young America
Withers and Suba

Ooooh, fun! This looks like something every 12-year-old will be clamoring for! Except…they won’t.

This submission comes to us from a middle school library. Yes, middle school. It’s old and dirty, and had to be meant for a younger audience.

This is adorable for a display, and used book shoppers will snatch it up in a heart beat at the used book sale. It’s just old and out of place in a middle school collection.


rocket in my pocket


poem about Jenny



  1. I have a newer edition of that somewhere! I used to LOVE reading through all the rhymes. Of course, I’m also the weird kid who loved Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden and read Louisa May Alcott for fun in high school…. in the 90’s….

  2. I have now had my dosage of poetic strangeness for the day. . . .maybe for the entire week. Although, I will admit that the jump-rope rhyme is historically charming.

  3. Well, obviously I thought of something immature when I saw the title. But the “poems” are just…surreal. This is one big WTF.

  4. I loved this book in elementary school. But unfortunately it might not be appropriate for the present, e.g.
    “I am a little Hindoo
    I do all I kin do.
    Where my pants and shirt don’t meet
    I make my little skin do.”

    Although I still like
    “Sixty needles, sixty pins, sixty dirty Republikins.
    Sixty rats, sixty cats, sixty dirty Democrats.”

  5. This was the most popular book in my elementary school– we all fought over who would get to check it out next! (Okay, admittedly, I lived in a small town in Kansas and it was the 1970’s…) I still have a special place in my heart for this book, though. I understand it’s updated continuously in new editions, but maybe still wouldn’t be appropriate for middle school. I can still remember everyone’s favorite poem:
    Ladies and Jellyspoons,
    I come before you to stand behind you to tell you something I know nothing about
    Next Thursday which is Good Friday there will be a Mother’s meeting for Fathers only
    Admission is free, pay at the door, take a seat and sit on the floor
    It doesn’t matter where you sit, the man in the gallery is sure to spit.
    I thank you for your unkind attention
    The next number will be the Four Corners of the Round Table.

  6. Can I ask what a ‘durple’ is? Just a word to rhyme with purple or maybe just a term we don’t have here in Australia.

    1. I’m in the U.S.A., and I don’t know what a ‘durple’ is either. My guess is that it is made up, to rhyme with purple.

  7. I sometimes google games and rhymes I remember from when I was a kid and have, on occasion, come up with nothing. These things do need to be preserved, I think. It’s fascinating how they endured on the playground for generations. But this particular book just looks too gross to keep.

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