Gifted poet and illustrator Florian (Poem Runs: Baseball Poems, 2012, etc.) here presents a chunky collection of drawings and brief poems on a host of silly subjects.
Posited as a superstore of verse on assorted topics children care about—school, family, animals, food and the like—one also can’t help thinking this “depot” represents a midway point for a number of poems that haven’t quite reached their creative destinations. To be truly effective, light or nonsensical verse should be as tight in its poetic construction as it is loosely suggestive in metaphorical associations, and a number of the works assembled here simply read as not fully cooked. The volume’s more successful poems tend to employ wordplay to elicit a chuckle or illustrate delightfully nonsensical truisms about language, as in “Insect Asides”: “A dragonfly is not a fly. / It’s not a dragon either. / No butter on a butterfly, / And bees cannot spell neither.” Likewise, when paired well, Florian’s free-form pen-and-ink drawings enhance the whimsical nature of the fanciful scenes depicted. In “Pets,” a creepy drawing of a girl with hairy spiders crawling all over her face offers a convincing explanation for the accompanying poem’s punch line: “Bruce has ten pet roosters. / Ben has ten pet hens. / Fran has ten tarantulas, / But not too many friends.”
Overall, a thick collection of humorous verse that might have been funnier with thinner ambitions. (Poetry. 9-11)