FIGHTING WORDS by Eve Merriam

FIGHTING WORDS

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Dale, on his toy-sized farm, glares across the river at Leda, who stands tall as a skyscraper in her city. Each is jealous of the other (""Leda hates Dale. He...can ride a horse."" ""Dale wishes he had hair like Leda's""). Agreeing to meet for a fight, they hurl colorful insults, beginning with ""oaf"" and ""dolt"" and going on to ""nincompoop"" and ""blunderbuss"" as they scamper through a city bristling with visual references to conflict (""Brut for Men,"" a police car leading a military parade, ""Rambo,"" a smoke-breathing dragon, etc.), through a baseball game (""Dale winds up and lets go. NINNY""), and on to the zoo (""dodo,"" ""booby"") until, with both hoarse, their quarrel dwindles away (""picayune,"" ""pip-squeak""). Poet Merriam, who has assembled this intriguing string of epithets, weaves them creatively into an amusing scenario; but Small's vigorously drawn illustrations, which cleverly contrive to celebrate the richness of the language while humorously deprecating the activity, steal the show.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1992
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Morrow