My Head Has a Bellyache and More Nonsense by Chris Harris

Poems about nail clippings, sausages, and page numbers?! Yes, and many more.

My Head Has a Bellyache and More Nonsense by Chris Harris, illustrated by Andrea Tsurumi. Little, Brown and Company, 2023. 192 pages.

Reading Level: Middle Grades, Ages 10-12

Recommended For: Ages 10-12

This morning I offered my boys “Mom bucks” to see how many poems they could recite out of the many we’ve reviewed over the years. They each got a handful, or at least a couple, out of the collection in my binder.

What were they MOST eager to recite? Poems by Chris Harris. They’ve been stealing his new book off my desk before I had a chance to finish reading it for this review, and found a number of them to be just as much fun as I’m Just No Good At Rhyming.

It’s not easy to follow a masterpiece, but Harris has applied his poetic brilliance to a range of subject matter including lukewarm romance (perfect for middle grade readers), family relationships, nail clippings, playing with words, buffalo, sausages, nutrition, poetic forms and the life of a poet, snakes, home, …, lost things, and page numbers. Yes, he created an impressive poem with the page numbers.

Although some of the lines require a little practice to read smoothly, this is a poetry book that can be enjoyed by both children and adults.


Gender: One poem about thirty-nine girls includes five (possibly more) boys among the thirty-nine “girls” in the illustrations.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Worldview/Moral Rating: 3 out of 5

Literary/Artistic Rating: 4 out of 5

Read more about our ratings here.

Related Reading From Redeemed Reader:

A Review: I’m Just No Good At Rhyming by Chris Harris and Lane Smith

A Reflection: Gladys Hunt on Enjoying Poetry With Children

A Resource: More fun poetry resources in The Guaranteed, Irresistible, Effortless Introduction to Poetry for People Who Doubt That They Like It

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