More of the same—but a nice more.




The Thurber Prize winner’s first collection of poetry for children has a familiar feel, except for that blue hyena.

In poems generally inspired by real-life experiences, Trillin turns his gaze upon the ebb and flow of childhood. The kids here are sure to strike a familiar chord with anyone who knows a stuffed-animal hoarder or has a sister incapable of keeping to her side of the back seat. For readers accustomed to Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, and the like, Trillin breaks little new ground with this collection, presenting such usual suspects as kids who want a dog (“To Get a Pet”), unwanted younger siblings (“Baby Brother Billy”), and bossy older siblings (“Who Plays What”). There are some notable exceptions, however, as in “Who’s the Awfulest Kid in Your Class?” in which a nephew with an inquisitive uncle feels compelled to invent a bully. Trillin’s wordplay can be enjoyable (“She’s over the line, / She’s over the line. / She occupies space / That’s rightfully mine”) but more often than not merely feels diligent. Chast’s beleaguered, oft-frenzied, only occasionally multiracial denizens do much to elevate Trillin’s familiar subjects. Her blue hyena is an exercise in child-friendly psychosis, while her pictorial demonstration of shoe-tying mishaps is laugh-out-loud funny.

More of the same—but a nice more. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-82578-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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“Little boy blue / come blow your tuba. / The sheep are in Venice, / and the cow’s in Aruba.” Pairing frenetic and garishly colored art to familiar rhymes in “more modern, more fresh, and well…more Goosian” versions, Seibold stakes out Stinky Cheese Man territory to introduce “Jack and Jill / and a pickle named Bill,” the Old Woman Who Lived in a Sneaker (“She had a great big stereo speaker”), Peter Pumpkin Pickle Pepper and about two dozen more “re-nurseried” figures. Against patterned or spray-painted backgrounds, an entire page of umbrella-carrying raindrops float down, a bunch of mice run up (“the clock struck one; / the rest had fun”), cats fiddle for Old King Coal and others, Jack B. Nimble makes a lifelong career out of demonstrating his one trick and a closing rendition of the counting rhyme “One, Two, I Lost My Shoe” is transformed into a clever reprise as many of the characters return to take final bows. Sparkles on the cover; chuckles (despite some lame rhyming) throughout. (Fractured nursery rhymes. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8118-6882-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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This oversized volume won’t fit on a bookshelf; leave it open on a table to display the art.



From the Neighbors series

Poems celebrate 12 animals that might be found in American backyards.

This collection complements Held and Kim's The Yard Critters (2011), which similarly invites young readers to think about beings that share their world. From ladybugs to chipmunks, each double-page spread features a different creature, one that may be familiar from storybooks, if not from personal experience. In a few short stanzas, the poet describes both attributes and habits. Of the porcupine: “It’s a thrill / to see this / walking quill / cushion // strolling uphill / from the cellar / where he’s built / a den down under.” “So much / does Nature / love her, / Shrew // can birth / ten litters / per year— / whew!” There’s even a riddle: “Flying from Belize to bless our summer, / this ingenious gem is called the ———.” (The word “hummer” appears in a later poem, “Field Mouse.”) Not all the ideas are important or even accurate; this is not an informational book. Nor are these your usual children’s poems. The vocabulary is sophisticated. The rhymes and sound patterns are complex and vary unpredictably. With only 12 poems, this title may seem slight. What adds value are Kim’s intriguing collage illustrations, creating stylized but recognizable animal images set on generous white space with elements crossing the gutter to lead eyes to the text.

This oversized volume won’t fit on a bookshelf; leave it open on a table to display the art. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-916754-26-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Filsinger & Co.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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