In this picture book, rhyming verses paint amusing mini-portraits of kids working and playing.
In Phillips’ debut collection, each two- to eight-line-long poem begins with a child’s first name that’s repeated, with illustrations on the facing page. A typical verse reads “Mandy Mandy eats cotton candy at the county fair. / Her dad buys tickets and she rides the rides. / She plays a game and she wins a prize. / Mandy Mandy likes cotton candy and loves going to the fair.” Most verses, as in this example, feature an internal rhyme with the name in the first line. Phillips employs no particular metrical scheme throughout, making his lines as short or as long as he needs. This makes them less satisfying, as they lack regular meter’s neatness and inevitability. The rhymes can be clever, though—“Luigi Luigi uses a squeegee”; “Dante Dante eats picante.” The somewhat flat but colorful illustrations reflect diversity, although they’re sometimes stereotypical: Wong, for example, plays ping pong and Jamal plays basketball, and one rhyme insists that all girls love shopping. Still, the names are well-varied, including “Ming” and “Shawntay” alongside “Laura” and “Bill.” Kids will likely enjoy searching for their own names or making up rhymes of their own—a good rainy-day activity.
An appealing work that has fun with its concept.