Ruddell’s collection of 21 bite-sized poems whets even the littlest of literary appetites.
Divided (sometimes arbitrarily) according to the seasons, her poems hopscotch topic, length and approach but are consistently charming. In rhyming verse, she describes a “lickety-split” spring picnic with green grapes, baked beans “and your bow-wow and your blue jeans.” “Speaking of Peaches…” pays tribute to summer’s favorite stone fruit, its “flowery fragrance” and “flannelpajamaty skin.” Fall’s “21 Things to Do with an Apple” is a staccato litany of the apple’s many wondrous uses (“Twirl it / Float it / Caramel-coat it”), while winter’s “The World’s Biggest Birthday Cake” boasts vivid imagery: “The cake was a whopper, and I’ve heard it said, / the sprinkles alone were the size of your head.” Readers may, however, scratch their heads at the odd character—an ogre here or Dracula there (in a Halloween-timed poem). True to form, Rankin’s muted watercolors match the whimsy of Ruddell’s words. Ants frolic in the icy, pink waters of Watermelon Lake and sunbathe on the pale green shore; children wait anxiously, saltshaker in hand, to pounce on popcorn astronauts in puffy suits hurtling through the air. Animals—cats, dogs, storks and more—smile and smirk with expressive detail.
A scrumptious set of food-themed poems for budding gourmets, ripe for hours of read-aloud fun. (Picture book/poetry. 4-10)