Books by J. Patrick Lewis

LAST LAUGHS by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: Oct. 10, 2017

"The poetry and prose form more of an uneasy détente than an integrated whole, but the comical pictures and the wordplay in these dino demises provide sufficient lift. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)"
"Trilobites the Dust," and so do the rest of a cast of extinct creatures in this sequel (prequel?) to Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs (2012). Read full book review >
IT'S NOT THE BABY by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: Sept. 12, 2017

"I-spy reading fun for little eyes. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)"
A board book with great potential for interaction between a baby and the reader who shares it. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2014

"A powerful yet accessible guide to 'one day in 1963 [that] [b]elongs to every age.' (authors' note, guide to participants, bibliography, websites, further reading, index) (Poetry/fiction. 10 & up)"
Lewis and Lyon join forces for a fictionalized account of one of the pivotal moments in U.S. civil rights history. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 19, 2014

"A beautiful book that tells a truth that needs to be told. (bibliography, notes) (Informational picture book. 10-16)"
A rare look at how music made a positive contribution to World War I. Read full book review >
M IS FOR MONSTER by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: Aug. 1, 2014

"Readers who delve into this title will find their interests piqued; they'll be ready to move on to other works that explore these menacing fantastical beings more fully. (Informational picture book/poetry. 6-10)"
Need an introduction to many of the creepy creatures of legends and fantasy books? Look no further—this alphabet book of monsters provides the need-to-know information. Read full book review >
POEM-MOBILES by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: Jan. 7, 2014

"Young readers will almost certainly be inspired to create their own wacky cars. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)"
Limitless possibilities for future car designs are imagined in a collection of free-wheeling verses. Read full book review >
WORLD RAT DAY by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: March 12, 2013

"Though it's bumpy, it's still a novel way to add some zany celebrations to the family or classroom calendar. (Poetry. 5-8)"
The Children's Poet Laureate takes a tongue-in-cheek look at some of the weird and wacky holidays that never quite make it onto commercially printed calendars. Read full book review >
FACE BUG by J. Patrick Lewis
by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Kelly Murphy, photographed by Frederick B. Siskind
Released: March 1, 2013

"The attempt to present science in a humorous way is a well-meaning one, but the effect seems rather lame for today's visually sophisticated kids and might work better as an app than a book. (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)"
For kids who love bugs! Gruesome but fascinating photomicrographs of 14 different bugs are the focus of this unusual science book that combines poetry, line drawings and scientific facts to bring bugs alive for curious children. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2013

"Somber and inspirational. (thumbnail sketches) (Poetry. 10-16)"
The Children's Poet Laureate salutes 15 men and women, including one child, who spoke out and acted for equality and liberty, several at the cost of their lives. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2012

"Verse seekers could do worser than to swallow down this course of funky, funny forms of wordy wit. (Poetry. 6-12)"
Prolific versifier, author, riddlizer (etc.) Lewis offers this mostly new (a few appeared in magazines or anthologies) collection of laughs and linguistic lampoons. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 11, 2012

"A spectacular collection—'And,' the editor notes with remarkable understatement, 'the pictures are pretty nice too!' (Poetry. 7-12)"
Gathered by the United States children's poet laureate, 200 (mostly) lighthearted poems from the likes of Basho and Ben Franklin, Leadbelly, Jack Prelutsky and Joyce Sidman share space with eye-popping animal photographs. Read full book review >
LAST LAUGHS by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: July 1, 2012

"Some spry and inspired grave humor here, but weighed equally with some unimaginative efforts. (Picture book. 7-10)"
Cracked epitaphs from Lewis and Yolen. Read full book review >
Released: April 3, 2012

"Humor, math and poetry—who knew they were such a good combination? (Poetry/math. 8-12)"
Going a step beyond his Arithme-Tickle (illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz, 2001), Lewis cleverly combines math and language arts with this collection of humorous poetry parodies that present readers with math word problems to solve. Read full book review >
TAKE TWO! by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: March 1, 2012

"T-winsome. (Poetry. 4-8)"
Veteran poets tap into the never-ending interest in twins with a collection of poetry dedicated to twosomes. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 15, 2011

"Grim, upsetting and utterly beautiful, this is both a strong anti-war statement and a fascinating glimpse of a little-known historical event. (Picture book. 8 & up)"
Definitely for older children (and most likely to be appreciated by adults), this version of the true story of the Christmas Truce of 1914 is told through the eyes of a fictional young Welshman, with a terse yet lyrical text and stark, dramatic illustrations. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 15, 2011

"This inspired collaboration adds a heightened poetic dimension to readers' understanding of Chagall's life and art. (Picture book/poetry/biography. 11 & up)"
U.S. Children's Poet Laureate Lewis and the prolific Yolen team up for a celebratory picture-book biography in verse of the 20th century painter and designer Marc Chagall (1887-1985) that may quickly become a favorite of art-loving families and museum docents. Read full book review >
TUGG AND TEENY by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: March 2, 2011

"Emergent readers will identify with Teeny as someone learning new skills, and her can-do attitude, emboldened by a supportive community, is a great model for attaining success. (Early reader. 6-8)"
Another odd couple makes its foray into beginning-reader territory with three stories about Teeny the monkey's efforts to realize her artistic potential while best friend Tugg the gorilla cheers her on. Read full book review >
THE FANTASTIC 5 & 10¢ STORE by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: Sept. 14, 2010

"A rebus poem by its very nature begs to be reread, but with ebullient wordplay and a nostalgic tug at the (admittedly adult) heart, this one will be especially hard to let go. (complete poem at end) (Picture book. 4-9)"
When sun, rain and snowflakes collide, a strange store suddenly rises up at the end of Pumpkin Street. Read full book review >
KINDERGARTEN CAT by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: July 27, 2010

"The backside view of kids and cat lined up on the story rug is particularly affecting—would that all kindergartens could have a Tinker Toy. (Picture book. 3-7)"
An unusual new student enlivens a kindergarten classroom. Read full book review >
FIRST DOG by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: April 15, 2009

Riding the wave of presidential-pooch enthusiasm comes the season's second picture book on the subject. Read full book review >
Released: March 10, 2009

"A solid selection. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)"
The goofy cover and subtitle alone will raise giggles as they set the stage for Lewis to play poetic pundit for 47 jobs—odd jobs. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

"Once they grasp the concept, however, it seems likely that they would enjoy following the poets' advice and trying their own hands at renga. (Poetry. 6-9)"
Nostalgic images and low-key observations characterize this collaboration. Read full book review >
THE WORLD’S GREATEST by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: April 1, 2008

"Not all the spreads equal this level of cleverness, and it's overall a pretty slim premise, but it's not a bad way for kids to spend an afternoon—and it might send them to Guinness to think up their own. (Poetry. 6-10)"
This is not, as a quick glance at the title might suggest, an attempt to anthologize the best poems ever written, thank goodness. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

"Shepperson's quirky illustrations in watercolor and ink complement each poem with a variety of illustration sizes, and he includes children of different ethnic groups as well as a female elf in a key role (in the titular poem) and in the cover illustration. (Poetry. 6-9)"
Sixteen rhyming poems of widely varying subjects all have some sort of connection to the Christmas season in this latest thematic collection from the prolific poet. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2007

"Still, preschool teachers will enjoy this somewhat slapdash examination of the oft-taught idea of opposites. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Bright, bold collages of torn paper, pastels and tempera fairly jump off the pages as Barner and Lewis team up with this concept book in rhyme for lap listeners. Read full book review >
TULIP AT THE BAT by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: April 1, 2007

"However, Tulip, who is last seen waving triumphantly with her teammates through a blizzard of ticker tape, makes a fetching hero, and the outsized 'WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS' message at the end will be music to the ears of New York fans everywhere. (Picture book. 6-8)"
The New York Pets square off against the Boston Beasts, with the usual result, in this very distant cousin to "Casey at the Bat." Read full book review >
CASTLES by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

"Dreamers will latch on to the poems and pictures; for young historians, the poets close with prose notes, a timeline and a robust reading list. (Poetry. 8-10)"
Adopting similar tones and voices, two poets exchange generally somber observations in verse about 15 stone castles and palaces, plus a "Castle in the Air" from Viking legend. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

"A stylish and artful work that will hold appeal for adults as well. (Picture book. 11+)"
Lewis offers an unconventional biography of the Mississippi blues legend. Read full book review >
ONCE UPON A TOMB by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: Aug. 1, 2006

"The end. (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)"
Lewis is "dead-on" with this collection of "gravely humorous verses." Read full book review >
BLACKBEARD by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: May 9, 2006

"Of the Black Flag, Edward Teach.' (timeline, afterword, bibliography) (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)"
In variously rhymed verses as swashbuckling as the figure they celebrate, Lewis tries to flesh out the little that is actually known about the character and career of the most renowned pirate ever. Read full book review >
WING NUTS by Paul B. Janeczko
Released: April 1, 2006

"Plenty of fun, with nary a screw-up. (Poetry. 5-10)"
In their first collaboration, two of the big kahunas of children's poetry deliver 23 senryu poems. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2005

"Finishing with 'Acknowledgements' to 'Shel and Jack and Myra Cohn,' plus other 'word wizards,' this offering from the prolific Lewis won't stay buried long, no matter where it's planted. (Poetry. 8-10)"
In 16 poems, all but two appearing here for the first time, the Midwest's cleverest living comic poet enjoins readers, "Please bury me in the library / With a dozen long-stemmed proses." Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2005

"Lewis has done wonderful work in the past; this one doesn't measure up. (author's note) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)"
The best-described hero in Lewis's book is actually in the author's note, where he writes about his school janitor at St. Read full book review >
SCIEN-TRICKERY by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: April 1, 2004

Lewis follows up Arithme-tickle (2002) with a more broadly themed collection of rhymed riddles, encompassing topics as diverse as astronomy, electricity, maps, and the Zero. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2003

"Never has the snowy season been celebrated with more joie de vivre. (Picture book. 6-8)"
Two snowflakes—along with "seven billion four / Hundred million, maybe more"—twirl a dance down night skies, hitch a ride on Santa's sleigh, reach Times Square just in time to see the Ball drop, then flutter off across recognizable New York scenes to Central Park, to spend the rest of the winter on a welcoming snow-lad. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

"Fancy typeface and layout give the pages an over-designed look, but brawny, gray-haired Susannah towers as convincingly in Sheban's dusky scenes as in the grand music of Lewis's words, and fans of Anne Isaacs's Swamp Angel (1994) will welcome her into the fold. (Picture book/tall tale. 7-10)"
With contagious wonder and language as broad as the lady herself, Lewis (Good Mousekeeping, p. 743, etc.) adds an outsized new member to the ranks of tall-tale heroines, introducing itinerant cobbler Susannah DeClare: "Strong as a lockbox and as long as a good spit in a windstorm." Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2001

"Leap through the door.' (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)"
Whimsical verse marries curious art in a second collaboration by Lewis and Desimini (Doodle Dandies, 1998). Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2001

"Readers will sail just as lightly through this gallery of achievers, marveling as they go. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)"
Lewis leaves behind the serious mood of his Freedom Like Sunlight: Praisesongs for Black Americans (2000) with jocose commemorations of 22 more important notables. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2001

"This is also an excellent choice for younger gifted children, who will enjoy the challenge of math problems with a humorous twist. (Nonfiction. 7-10)"
Math story problems aren't always boring exercises about dividing up a bowl of apples or trains traveling between cities. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2001

"But traveling by poem is what I recommend.' (Poetry. 8-11)"
In catchy, clever verse, the prolific Lewis (Earth and You: A Closer View, not reviewed, etc.) plays with place names, marvels at the journeys of several explorers, goes "Island Hopping," gads about the cities of Europe, even provides mnemonics to distinguish stalagmites from stalactites, and latitude from longitude—"Lines of latitude / Have a f l a t i t u d e. / Longitudinal lines / Rise like porcupines." Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

"A natural for reading aloud, this ballad makes a grin-inducing follow-up to any version of 'The Princess and the Pea.' (Picture book. 7-10)"
The nabob of nonsense verse brings readers to the town of Trouble, situated between Good-Grief! and Who's-to-Blame? Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1999

"Natchev's paintings have the delicate and sumptuous qualities of religious icons, resembling the tapestries on which other grand stories have been told, but far funnier. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A thrilling story, at once preposterous and divinely ingenious. Read full book review >
THE BOOKWORM'S FEAST by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: Feb. 1, 1999

"In perfect harmony are O'Brien's marvelously textured lines, dots, stipples, and colors; his bookworms serve books-on-a-plate as a frontispiece to each section, and the characters have the bright energy of the verses. (Picture book/poetry. 3-9)"
PLB 0-8037-1693-1 Lewis (Doodle Dandies, p. 896, etc.) has created an almanac of words at play, using tongue-twisters, puns, alliteration, and many forms and fancies of rhyme scheme in an unabashed celebration of language. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1998

"Kelley's imposing paintings are masterful in the technique, comic in the approach, capturing a bit of the nonsense in Lear's writing, but focusing more on his life. (Picture book/poetry. 7-11)"
Lewis (Doodle Dandies, p. 896, etc.) turns his admiration for Edward Lear into inspiration for a collection of biographical poems about his literary hero. Read full book review >
THE HOUSE OF BOO by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

"With scudding clouds, gauzy curtains, and dancing leaves blowing in the wind, shadowy phantom figures, and candle-lit bats, KrÇnina renders an eerie setting for those sheet-draped children venturing through the night. (Picture book. 5-8)"
A spooky Halloween poem, well-matched with dusky, windswept gouache illustrations illuminated by moonlight and pumpkin glow: "Boo Scoggins lived on Humpback Hill/Above the misty water mill./His house was lit by pumpkin-light;/His songs were sung by whippoorwill." Read full book review >
THE LITTLE BUGGERS by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: June 1, 1998

"The title of each poem twists across the page, adding extra zip to the critters we so often zap. (Poetry. 5-8)"
Aimed at a younger audience than its wittier, more sophisticated cousin, Paul Fleischman's Joyful Noise (1989), this collection of poems celebrates bugs. Read full book review >
THE LA-DI-DA HARE by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: April 1, 1997

"Bluthenthal's animated illustrations are an excellent complement, in beachcombing colors of sand and surf, convincing in the depiction of a place awash in fresh, salt breezes. (Picture book. 6-9)"
Clever wordplay and a marvelous island bestiary distinguish this rhymed wonder quest from Lewis (Black Swan/White Crow, 1995, etc.). Read full book review >
THE BOAT OF MANY ROOMS by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: Feb. 1, 1997

"In the same vein as Birds, Beasts and Fishes (1991), Cartwright's highly stylized oil paintings depict a white-bearded Noah amidst crowds of smiling animals on each mural- like page. (Picture book. 6-10)"
The story of Noah, told in episodic verse. Read full book review >
RIDDLE-ICIOUS by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: April 1, 1996

"Far superior to most riddle books in merit and for the visual humor in the colorful ink-and- watercolor illustrations. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Lewis (Black Swan/White Crow, 1995, etc.) offers 28 ``poems that hide/behind disguises'' and ``tickle you with/small surprises,'' each with a funny picture clue that makes most of the riddles easily guessed by preschoolers. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

"1132, etc.) tale is hauntingly evocative of the mysterious heaths and an age when magic was closer to Earth than it is now. (Fiction/Picture book. 5+)"
Two children are lost in a blizzard while they are on their way home on Christmas Eve in early 20th-century England. Read full book review >
THE FROG PRINCESS by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: Sept. 1, 1994

"This one is worth a look. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A prince marries a frog—it's a long story. Read full book review >
JULY IS A MAD MOSQUITO by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: April 1, 1994

"(Poetry/Picture book. 6-10)"
A baker's dozen of lightly lyrical poems in a cycle of months summed up in a final entry: ``January's a polar bear;/February's a mole....'' Though he offers few epiphanies, Lewis's descriptions are vivid, his images are fresh and appealing, and he makes deft use of a variety of rhyme schemes and verse forms, including a lovely haiku for August: ``At bedtime, outside/my room...nighthawk and trainsong/on the wind's guitar.'' Hall's stylized art, in a rainbow of yummy hues as bright as Italian ices, makes this useful offering especially attractive. Read full book review >
ONE DOG DAY by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: April 30, 1993

"Still, worth a try—especially, with its folksy dialogue, as a readaloud. (Fiction. 8-11)"
A well-regarded author of poetry for children (A Hippopotamusn't, 1990) concocts a comic literary tale about a 12- year-old who enters her collie in an unusual two-part race for coon dogs: following a caged coon in a rowboat, they swim across a pond, then dash to the base of a pole to whose top the coon has been whisked. Read full book review >
THE MOONBOW OF MR. B. BONES by J. Patrick Lewis
Released: March 10, 1992

"Skillfully crafted by all concerned: an entertaining book that resonates on several levels. (Picture book. 5-10)"
The author of some deftly comical verse (A Hippopotamusn't, 1990) spins an allegorical tale about a mysterious old peddler- -whose wares include glass jars labeled ``Sundrops,'' ``Snowrays,'' and ``Moonbows''—and the skeptical young storyteller who convinces the other people in a little mountain town that Bartholomew Bones's ``secret weather bottles'' are as empty as they look. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 1991

"But an appealing collection. (Poetry/Picture book. 4-10)"
From the author of A Hippopotamusn't (1990), more ebullient verse about animals. Read full book review >