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SOMETHING SURE SMELLS AROUND HERE

LIMERICKS

From the Poetry Adventures series

Inviting illustrations and offbeat topics showcase limericks aplenty for amusement or poetic inspiration.

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)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-2044-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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ZILOT & OTHER IMPORTANT RHYMES

A lackluster collection of verse enlivened by a few bright spots.

Poems on various topics by the actor/screenwriter and his kids.

In collaboration with his now-grown children—particularly daughter Erin, who adds gently humorous vignettes and spot art to each entry—Bob Odenkirk, best known for his roles in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, dishes up a poetic hodgepodge that is notably loose jointed in the meter and rhyme departments. The story also too often veers from child-friendly subjects (bedtime-delaying tactics, sympathy for a dog with the zoomies) to writerly whines (“The be-all and end-all of perfection in scribbling, / no matter and no mind to any critical quibbling”). Some of the less-than-compelling lines describe how a “plane ride is an irony / with a strange and wondrous duplicity.” A few gems are buried in the bunch, however, like the comforting words offered to a bedroom monster and a frightened invisible friend, not to mention an invitation from little Willy Whimble, who lives in a tuna can but has a heart as “big as can be. / Come inside, / stay for dinner. / I’ll roast us a pea!” They’re hard to find, though. Notwithstanding nods to Calef Brown, Shel Silverstein, and other gifted wordsmiths in the acknowledgments, the wordplay in general is as artificial as much of the writing: “I scratched, then I scrutched / and skrappled away, / scritching my itch with great / pan-a-ché…” Human figures are light-skinned throughout.

A lackluster collection of verse enlivened by a few bright spots. (Poetry. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2023

ISBN: 9780316438506

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2023

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WHAT YOU NEED TO BE WARM

No substitute for blankets or shelter, but perhaps a way of securing some warmth for those in need.

Gaiman’s free-verse meditation on coming in from, or at least temporarily fending off, the cold is accompanied by artwork from 13 illustrators.

An ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the author put out a social media appeal in 2019 asking people about their memories of warmth; the result is this picture book, whose proceeds will go to the UNHCR. For many refugees and other displaced persons, Gaiman writes, “food and friends, / home, a bed, even a blanket, / become just memories.” Here he gathers images that signify warmth, from waking in a bed “burrowed beneath blankets / and comforters” to simply holding a baked potato or being offered a scarf. Using palettes limited to black and the warm orange in which most of the text is printed, an international slate of illustrators give these images visual form, and 12 of the 13 add comments about their intentions or responses. The war in Ukraine is on the minds of Pam Smy and Bagram Ibatoulline, while Majid Adin recalls his time as a refugee in France’s “Calais jungle” camp. “You have the right to be here,” the poet concludes, which may give some comfort to those facing the cold winds of public opinion in too many of the places where refugees fetch up. The characters depicted are diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

No substitute for blankets or shelter, but perhaps a way of securing some warmth for those in need. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9780063358089

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2023

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