Children may enjoy the silliness and rollicking rhythms despite a few flaws.

TOILET TROUBLE

POEMS FOR BEGINNER READERS (GRADES K-2)

From the Funny-Bone-Tickling Children's Poetry series , Vol. 2

This second volume of rhyming verse for children offers humorous takes on various situations.

In this sequel, Fleishman (Twist and Shout!, 2017, etc.) again provides simple-to-understand comic verse for young readers. Don’t be put off by the book’s title; the 20 poems collected here don’t focus on gross-out humor. Many are pieces that depend on Harston’s (Twist and Shout!, 2017, etc.) bright, cartoonlike illustrations, which show diverse characters, for necessary context. For example, the first verse, “Neighbor,” is merely two lines long: “I just met my neighbor. He’s a very friendly guy. / He has 20 ovens. Gee, how strange. I wonder why?” Speculation is put to rest on the facing page, which shows a chef holding a tray of freshly baked muffins. Similarly, the four-line “Ice Skating” advises readers to “never skate the inner part,” which makes sense only with the image, depicting a shark’s fin emerging in a hole near center ice. Sometimes, though, the author and illustrator miss a beat; a crocodile who gets a birthday gift of Crocs is funny, but the picture reveals only the wrapped present, not the juxtaposition of croc/Crocs. Fleishman at times adds a lesson to his verse, but not always successfully. “Butterfly Catchers,” for example, anthropomorphizes the insects, teaching incorrect biology and making young entomologists feel guilty for the wrong reasons. (Some of the creatures are endangered, but there are no mother and baby butterflies whose hearts can be broken.)

Children may enjoy the silliness and rollicking rhythms despite a few flaws.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73247-703-2

Page Count: 56

Publisher: FBT Poetry, LLC

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2018

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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