Stick with Prelutsky and Silverstein.


A collection of poems to start the school year off with a laugh.

These 15 poems don’t explore new territory, focusing on the usual suspects: homework, chewing gum, school supplies, teachers, class pets on the loose, boogers and cafeteria food, among others. While some rollick along, many suffer from scansion and meter issues. For instance, in “Better Than Baseball,” a young boy extols recess activities: “Yet none are nearly as cool for you / As lying in wet grass / Putting bugs and worms in your pockets / And bringing them back to class.” The worst issue with this collection, however, especially for beginning readers, is the dearth of punctuation. In the entire book, there are 13 end marks, not one of them a period, and just three commas. This makes them difficult to read, particularly aloud: “You’re going out of your mind / You’re terribly distressed / Then you walk in front of a mirror / You’ve forgotten to get dressed.” Woodruff’s watercolor-and–colored-pencil illustrations are a nice mix of spot, single- and double-page spreads. While they are amusing and certainly play up the gross-out and surprise factors, they also often give away the punch lines of the poems.

Stick with Prelutsky and Silverstein. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-47981-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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An uplifting poetic journey through the beginning of the Book of Genesis.


Sung brings the Creation story to life in a heartfelt work of narrative poetry for children.

The author writes that he “believes everyone should have the opportunity to hear about the bible, especially at a young age.” To that end, this book guides its audience through the first seven days of the world, according to the Book of Genesis. It straightforwardly recounts the familiar story of God’s formation of heaven and Earth from the darkness, and the division of night from day. It then explores God’s separation of heaven and Earth and land and sea on the second and third days, respectively. On the fourth day, he creates the sun, moon, and stars to illuminate the skies, and on the fifth day, he populates the skies and seas with creatures of his design. The sixth day brings forth land-based animals as well as man and woman, to whom God entrusts dominion and stewardship of Creation. On the final day, God deems his work complete, deeming the Sabbath holy and resting. The text is accompanied by page after page of colorful, exuberant crayon illustrations, reminiscent of children’s art. Sung uses poetry to provide a simple and inspiring retelling of the story of Creation. While adhering closely to biblical text, he blends a variety of rhyme schemes as well as free verse elements in a manner that will engage early readers. Clever verses, such as the slant rhyme “The word becomes tangible / God makes all sorts of wild animals,” use familiar language that most youngsters will be able to understand. The book draws upon biblical verses from the English Standard Version, King James Version, New International Version, and other editions, making it accessible for many Christian denominations, and interweaves these references seamlessly, emphasizing the continuity in the Gospel narratives. Overall, Sung offers an entertaining work that will ignite young imaginations while providing a solid introduction to one of the Bible’s most famous stories.

An uplifting poetic journey through the beginning of the Book of Genesis.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-973690-39-9

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2021

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The poems are, at best, lesser lights in the poetic firmament, but the pictures provide enough boost to get them off the...


Goofy cartoons featuring wildly baroque spacecraft and many-limbed aliens illustrate 26 poems, nearly all new and out of—or at least off—this world.

J. Patrick Lewis explains how long it would take to drive to the moon in “your average car”; Eric Finney firmly misdirects a Mars-bound UFO toward Venus; editor Foster himself writes from the Space Hotel that “Space-worms are delicious / And the chef says they are quite nutritious”; and Liz Brownlee introduces hapless alien tourist “Flurp Blurp”: “I broke 3 legs on Mars whilst skiing, / 3 more on Saturn’s rings sightseeing!” They and other poets tally otherworldly food, monsters, sports, and visitors. Lewis is the best-known of the 17 contributors, but regardless of their creators’ recognizability, the verses (most of which are rhymed) roll along merrily, and Paul cranks up the silliness with page-filling views of garishly colored planets, tentacle-waving, googly-eyed extraterrestrials, and spaceships sporting many extravagant pipes and rivets. A closing handful of short foolishness (including Julie Holder’s verse knock-knock joke, with “A human being what?” as its punch line) makes for a particularly enjoyable send-off.

The poems are, at best, lesser lights in the poetic firmament, but the pictures provide enough boost to get them off the ground. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-84780-486-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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