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Singa Songa. . . Bouncing Song. . . Willoughby Wallaby Woo. . . Tony Baloney. . . If the titles aren't enough to convey the tone of Lee's rhythmic, repeatable nonsense rhymes for very young listeners, here's a longer excerpt: ""Billy Batter,/ What's the matter?/ How come you're so sad?/ I lost my cat/ In the laundromat/ And a dragon ran off with my dad. . . ."" Lee, a Canadian poet, says he wrote these to supplement the old nursery rhymes which ""kids still love"" but whose references to pigs, pence and jolly millers have become exotic. Very likely his Toronto street and store names and Canadian towns will be just as exotic below the border, but as the rhymes are almost all sound and no sense that won't matter any more than those references to St. Ives and London. Lee has read a bit too much Milne and maybe a little Laura E. Richards, whom he hasn't assimilated with anything like the wit of Hoberman's Raucous Auk (1973). Nor do Newfeld's harsh, designer-like cartoons pick up the rhymes as did Bodecker's pictures for his own, jauntier verses in It's Raining Said John Twaining (1973). (In fact the pictures are a real handicap and may well turn you off before you even begin to read.) Still, just the fact that such comparisons come to mind puts Lee in pretty good company.

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 1975
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin