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ZOOLA PALOOZA by Gene Barretta


A Book of Homographs

by Gene Barretta & illustrated by Gene Barretta

Age Range: 5 - 10

Pub Date: June 21st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9107-6
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

A topic only rarely addressed gets whimsical treatment in this latest from wordplay master Barretta.

Homographs, a frequent source of confusion for readers, are words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently. Barretta helps children sort them out in this trip to an animal rock concert. Billy the striped bass plays the bass fiddle, while Florence Welk plays a polka on a polka-dot accordion. Puns and wordplay abound, and there is something for young and old alike—from the potty humor of the Seagull Sisters’ “present” to the exhausted Catnip Clan drummer: “Usually that cat lives to REBEL. / But today he was just / a REBEL without his claws.” From outstanding performances to lip-sync scandals, stage crew mishaps to faithful groupies, the fun doesn't stop at the text. Barretta’s watercolors do a stellar job of incorporating all of the homographs presented on each spread (helpfully presented in all uppercase within the text), no matter how far-out and unrelated they may seem.

While teachers are sure to reach for this entertaining resource again and again, the humor, illustrations, wordplay and story are strong enough that casual readers will pick this up, chuckle and even (gasp!) learn. (Picture book. 5-10)