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Everyone's The Smartest

Region: Baltic Countries, Estonia

Author: Contra

Original Language: Estonian

Translators: Charlotte Geater; Kätlin Kaldmaa; Richard O’Brien 

Illustrator: Ulla Saar

Genre: Poetry, Songs, and Rhymes

Descriptors: animals; mathematics; music; poems; school; seasons; students; teachers

Age: 6+ years old



Everyone’s the Smartest is a collection of 60 poems bound together with the central theme of school. Each poem takes the reader into the mind of a child as they recount charming and often humorous musings about elementary school life. Some poems tackle the challenges of sitting through class without getting distracted, getting in trouble for bad grades on pop quizzes, and how to scratch your head without ruining your hairdo. Others highlight the things kids love most about school like winter snowball fights, hanging out with friends, favorite lunch time meals, and awesome teachers. The colorful illustrations by Ulla Saar capture the whimsical nature of these delightful poems. The author, Contra, says, “every illustration works as an extra verse of its poem.” 

This collection includes tons of bonus content such as interviews with the author and illustrator, Estonian vocabulary lessons with pronunciation tips, lists of cool places in Estonia with information about the area, a sneak peek behind the scenes of the translation process from Estonian to English that gives readers a glimpse into which Estonian references were changed and why, and some prompts written by the translators so that kids can create their own poems! This collection is sure to delight children ages 6 and up and will make adult readers nostalgic for their elementary school days. 

More About This Book

Reviewed: e-book by The Emma Press (2018). ISBN: 9781912915040, 1912915049. 96 p. 


Notes: The printed version of this book is more engaging to look at than the e-book. The print version has full page illustrations that often connect together when the poems are presented side by side. In the e-book, the illustrations are cropped to fit with the corresponding poem, so the reader does not get to see the full image. 




Reviewed by: Leah Byrnes

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