Humorous Twists on Kids’ Poetry

A poetry book with a surgeon general’s warning, even if it’s fake, can’t be all bad. Lou Brooks’s Twimericks: The Book of Tongue-Twisting Limericks (Workman, $8.95, ages 9-12) combines zany rhymes with frantic drawings. The combination is great for kids and adults alike, especially for contests like seeing who can actually defy the surgeon general and repeat the poems fast without “your tongue being twisted into a perfect over- and underhand Bavarian pretzel knot.”

J. Patrick Lewis’s The Underwear Salesman And Other Jobs for Better or Verse (Atheneum, $16.99, ages 9-12) may not be the best guide for finding work, but it sure beats working and gives a pretty good choice of a variety of things to do, from driving a subway to sculpting ice. If the poems describe the job, it is probably only by accident, like “Exterminator”: “I come to de-bug/What’s under de rug.” Most of the poems show off the poet’s cleverness and the childish but clever drawings by Serge Bloch.

Mary O’Neill takes on a challenge in describing colors in her book of color poems, Hailstones and Halibut Bones: Adventures in Poetry and Color (Doubleday, $16.99, ages 8-12). It is not easy to match what people already think and give them something else to think about, too. But she does it. This reprint of the 1961 classic also shows off the pastel drawings of John Wallner that, with the poems, make the world stand out because, for instance, gray includes “a rainy day / The sad look of a slum / And chewing gum.”

Frank Lipsius is a contributing writer to MetroKids.

Categories: Book Reviews