FAST AND SLOW by John Ciardi


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About halfway through this collection of 34 rhymes Ciardi goes on for seven stanzas about ""The Man Who Had Shoes"" (but didn't wear them, preferring to keep them at home ""under the bed with my wife"" while he went about barefoot)--all, it seems, for the sake of the concluding pun: ""For if I only wear them in/ I cannot wear them out."" There are several other ""men who. . ."" here--many of them celebrated at greater length and to less apparent purpose--so that after getting through a few of them you are unlikely to care what happens to the fat fireman on a ladder. . . or the man from Delaware who took his pig to market but couldn't find a parking space. . . or ""Tough Captain Spud and his First Mate, Spade"" who trade in Yo-Yo strings and bottle caps. . . not to mention that polka-dotted bear pursued by the sheriff because he's coloring the whole world wrong. A lot of the other rhymes are insults or coy threats (about a boa constrictor or ""your"" cousin a gorilla) addressed to ""you""--with no hints as to why ""you"" should sit still and take them. Of the 34, a few of these are mildly amusing, more seem only to have amused their creator, and in others even he seems weary--probably from trying so hard to be funny.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1975
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin