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    Best Books Of 2017


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I'M JUST NO GOOD AT RHYMING

AND OTHER NONSENSE FOR MISCHIEVOUS KIDS AND IMMATURE GROWN-UPS

The inspired and inspiring sense of play knows no bounds.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller

A frolicking romp through the zany world of nonsense verse.

In the storied tradition of Nash, Lear, and Dr. Seuss, Harris joins forces with Smith to present over 100 original poems and illustrations dedicated to having some serious fun. Visual, aural, and downright guffaw-inspiring puns and riddles abound in this wildly imaginative and cleverly illustrated debut collection. Harris and Smith unite to preach the gospel of irreverence, daring children to explore and test parental—and poetic—limits in a variety of circumstances, whether through typography, illustration, or verse. In “Toasted Knight for Lunch Again?” Smith’s vividly textured multimedia double-page spread features Mama Dragon and Baby in conversation, as Baby points to lifeless Sir Gustav laid out on a plate, the feathery plume in his helmet serving as garnish, and whines, “No armor, Mom— / I want him / With the crust off!” In “ ’Tis Better,” Harris cheekily weighs in on the virtues of giving versus receiving, stating: “If that thing’s a black eye… / Then yeah, I believe it!” Harris and Smith even extend their banter to each other, Harris going so far as to bluntly state, “I Don’t Like My Illustrator,” and then Smith exacting revenge with a portrait of a snaggle-toothed, hairy-eared Harris with snot dripping from his nose.

The inspired and inspiring sense of play knows no bounds. (Poetry. 5-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-26657-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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COUNTING IN DOG YEARS AND OTHER SASSY MATH POEMS

Readers can count on plenty of chuckles along with a mild challenge or two.

Rollicking verses on “numerous” topics.

Returning to the theme of her Mathematickles! (2003), illustrated by Steven Salerno, Franco gathers mostly new ruminations with references to numbers or arithmetical operations. “Do numerals get out of sorts? / Do fractions get along? / Do equal signs complain and gripe / when kids get problems wrong?” Along with universal complaints, such as why 16 dirty socks go into a washing machine but only 12 clean ones come out or why there are “three months of summer / but nine months of school!" (“It must have been grown-ups / who made up / that rule!”), the poet offers a series of numerical palindromes, a phone number guessing game, a two-voice poem for performative sorts, and, to round off the set, a cozy catalog of countable routines: “It’s knowing when night falls / and darkens my bedroom, / my pup sleeps just two feet from me. / That watching the stars flicker / in the velvety sky / is my glimpse of infinity!” Tey takes each entry and runs with it, adding comically surreal scenes of appropriately frantic or settled mood, generally featuring a diverse group of children joined by grotesques that look like refugees from Hieronymous Bosch paintings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Readers can count on plenty of chuckles along with a mild challenge or two. (Poetry/mathematical picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0116-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

Categories:

WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!

Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing.

Both technique and imaginative impulse can be found in this useful selection of poems about the literary art.

Starting with the essentials of the English language, the letters of “Our Alphabet,” the collection moves through 21 other poems of different types, meters, and rhyme schemes. This anthology has clear classroom applications, but it will also be enjoyed by individual readers who can pore carefully over playful illustrations filled with diverse children, butterflies, flowers, books, and pieces of writing. Tackling various parts of the writing process, from “How To Begin” through “Revision Is” to “Final Edit,” the poems also touch on some reasons for writing, like “Thank You Notes” and “Writing About Reading.” Some of the poems are funny, as in the quirky, four-line “If I Were an Octopus”: “I’d grab eight pencils. / All identical. / I’d fill eight notebooks. / One per tentacle.” An amusing undersea scene dominated by a smiling, orangy octopus fills this double-page spread. Some of the poems are more focused (and less lyrical) than others, such as “Final Edit” with its ending stanzas: “I check once more to guarantee / all is flawless as can be. / Careless errors will discredit / my hard work. / That’s why I edit. / But I don’t like it. / There I said it.” At least the poet tries for a little humor in those final lines.

Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-362-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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