The premise of this picture poetry book is that there's a sixth grade class who models their own poems on William Carlos Williams' famous apology poem about eating all the plums. The sixth graders come up with a wide variety of poems. Each character and poem is crafted with an attentive eye to the experiences, struggles, and personalities of 12-year-olds, and in my experience, I'd say Joyce Sidman has strung the various harp strings of this age group beautifully.
In response to each poem of apology, the second half of the book is full of poems of forgiveness. Yes, each problem is solved and the students are all valued and loved, but that's exactly the sort of world that kids this age crave deeply. A world where they can make mistakes, try on new hats, and still have friends and be loved.
Someone on Goodreads wrote that this book will most likely be read by students as part of school work. Yes. I, agree. But---that's okay. I'm always looking for great resources and just like this year's Newbery, I think many children will read and value this book as it's carefully knitted into their reading lives by many a thoughtful teacher.