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MADAM AND NUN AND 1001 by Brian P. Cleary


What Is a Palindrome?

From the Words Are CATegorical series

by Brian P. Cleary & illustrated by Brian Gable

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7613-4919-8
Publisher: Millbrook

A small bounty of palindromes, all stoked and ready to go.

Cleary gives young readers a tangy, rhymed introduction to palindromes that runs the gamut from mom and dad to wow and bob, then gathers sophistication with tenet and kayak and rotavator, then gets down and dirty with saippuakivikauppias, which is, as you know, Finnish for soapstone cutter. Gable’s artwork keeps the survey moving at warp speed, full of big-nosed pointy-eared pug-toed creatures, which feel a happy match with Cleary’s simple verse and the palindromes. They are not always immediately apparent, especially when they are fractured. “No lemons no melon,” a sign says outside the food shop. “Was it a cat I saw?” And there is a terrific five-word, up-down-and-across, crosswordlike item with words like sator, arepo and opera. There's a couple of turkeys, too, such as “bosses sob.” Cleary makes the good point that fashioning palindromes with a friend can be fun, like designing a secret language. Gable adds the smart idea of using a Scrabble set to move the letters around.

A provocation to wordplay. (Picture book. 6-10)