OOPS!

Making a strong bid for the year’s most uproarious set of new verse, this collection opens with a “Whoosh!”—“The wind is blowing / quite a breeze. / The wind is blowing / on my knees. / The wind is blowing / its spring dance. / It tells me I / forgot my pants.” It closes by rhyming “laugh” with “giraffe,” and in between delivers an unrelieved spate of clever knee-slappers on topics from sports to siblings, shopping to passing gas. Koren illustrates each of the 100-plus entries with characteristic crosshatch sketches—mostly of children wearing innocent, glum, annoyed or ingratiating looks, as appropriate. Katz’s earlier outings, most of which were illustrated by David Catrow, may have more visual flash, but this one’s both larger and more suited to independent readers. Children—never mind adults—will find the urge to read aloud from these pages well nigh irresistible. One more: “I stuffed my lunch / in my race car— / salami and some soda. / It used to be a Chevy, / but it now is a / Toy-odor.” (Poetry. 7-11)

Pub Date: March 4, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4169-0204-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2008

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DINOSAURS GALORE!

A dozen familiar dinosaurs introduce themselves in verse in this uninspired, if colorful, new animal gallery from the authors of Commotion in the Ocean (2000). Smiling, usually toothily, and sporting an array of diamonds, lightning bolts, spikes and tiger stripes, the garishly colored dinosaurs make an eye-catching show, but their comments seldom measure up to their appearance: “I’m a swimming reptile, / I dive down in the sea. / And when I spot a yummy squid, / I eat it up with glee!” (“Ichthyosaurus”) Next to the likes of Kevin Crotty’s Dinosongs (2000), illustrated by Kurt Vargo, or Jack Prelutsky’s classic Tyrannosaurus Was A Beast (1988), illustrated by Arnold Lobel, there’s not much here to roar about. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-58925-044-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2005

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Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing.

WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!

Both technique and imaginative impulse can be found in this useful selection of poems about the literary art.

Starting with the essentials of the English language, the letters of “Our Alphabet,” the collection moves through 21 other poems of different types, meters, and rhyme schemes. This anthology has clear classroom applications, but it will also be enjoyed by individual readers who can pore carefully over playful illustrations filled with diverse children, butterflies, flowers, books, and pieces of writing. Tackling various parts of the writing process, from “How To Begin” through “Revision Is” to “Final Edit,” the poems also touch on some reasons for writing, like “Thank You Notes” and “Writing About Reading.” Some of the poems are funny, as in the quirky, four-line “If I Were an Octopus”: “I’d grab eight pencils. / All identical. / I’d fill eight notebooks. / One per tentacle.” An amusing undersea scene dominated by a smiling, orangy octopus fills this double-page spread. Some of the poems are more focused (and less lyrical) than others, such as “Final Edit” with its ending stanzas: “I check once more to guarantee / all is flawless as can be. / Careless errors will discredit / my hard work. / That’s why I edit. / But I don’t like it. / There I said it.” At least the poet tries for a little humor in those final lines.

Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-362-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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