Debut author Ellis and illustrator Chambers-Goldberg (Paul Bunyan, 2011, etc.) channel Shel Silverstein in this collection of 26 humorous poems illustrated with droll black-and-white line drawings.
Many of these poems will send their 5-and-up audience into fits of giggles. “Fresh Cut Grass,” in which a man has grass for hair, can’t help but plant hilarious imagery in young minds: “I take great pleasure in my lawn and love to watch it grow. / The only thing I do not like is when it’s time to mow.” The perspective in these poems is perfectly kidlike. “Grandma’s Old Chair,”—which just may be alive and hungry—and “The Greatest Dive Never” might send adult readers spinning back to their childhoods as well. In the very short “Snow” —“I went to play in the snow today, / but had no fun at all. / The snow is almost four feet deep, / and I’m just three feet tall.”—the accompanying art shows the tip of a tasseled cap and two up-stretched, mittened hands. A few of the poems, including “Head Swallower,” stand out for their original premises: “Today I swallowed my own head, / and now it sits inside my tummy. / The bad news is it’s really dark. / The good news is I taste quite yummy.” Several poems have wicked twists: “The Great Bug Squasher” actually becomes the squashee. Mostly, the rhythm is regular and the rhyme is perfect; only occasionally does the regular meter falter, as in “Monster Under My Bed”: “A monster lives under my bed / and now I can’t sleep anymore. / It’s not because I’m scared of him / it’s just because of his loud snore.” More variation of the rhyming couplet structure would be welcome. A handful of entries, like “The World’s Shortest Rhyme” and “The Dance,” aren’t quite up to the standard set by the rest, but with nearly faultless poems like “Rain in Candy Land,” readers will forgive such quibbles.
A spot-on pairing of poetry and art sure to promote laughter and intergenerational bonding.