Cleary presents 26 limericks (and, tantalizingly, half of a 27th) for kids.
The fun-loving poet continues his light romp through poetic forms in the third installment of the Poetry Adventures series (Ode to a Commode: Concrete Poems, 2014, etc.), this time focusing on a cornerstone of the nonsense verse world that seems made for him: the limerick. First popularized by nonsense master Edward Lear in the mid-19th century and traditionally illustrated with a silly picture, the limerick irresistibly combines the predictability and momentum of consistent meter and rhyme with the jarring surprise of an unexpected, usually humorous twist of meaning. Case in point, a particularly hilarious example from Cleary: “I once met an artist named Hank. / To put it quite bluntly, he stank. / Couldn’t paint, couldn’t sketch, / and it wasn’t a stretch / to say he could not draw a blank.” Rowland gleefully presents an artiste clad in polka-dot boxers intently painting a stick figure while his pet dog, paw over one eye, hesitantly watches. Other poems here rely more heavily on punning, as in the title piece or a ditty involving a wonderfully rendered spider named Deb, “who’s become quite a singing celeb. / When I asked how she’d grown / to be so well known, / she replied, ‘I’m all over the web!’ ”
Inviting illustrations and offbeat topics showcase limericks aplenty for amusement or poetic inspiration. (further reading) (Picture book/poetry. 6-11)