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by Jon Agee & illustrated by Jon Agee

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 2002
ISBN: 0-374-35730-7
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

“Yo! Bozo boy!” It’s another hilarious collection of palindromic cartoons from the master of them all. Agee (Potch & Polly, p. 811, etc.) serves up such zany fare as “Kafka’s Restaurant”—“Wonton?” asks a customer; “Not now,” replies a black turtlenecked-waiter—and “The Artist”—who tries a number of configurations for a piece of pipe: “Tie it. / Tip it. / Put it up,” only to discover commercial futility: “Want it?” “Naw.” If some palindromes seem familiar from earlier efforts, others are truly inspired in their complete and joyful irrelevance: “A dog, a pan, a pagoda”—who else would have thought to put them together? Most cartoons take the form of four-panel strips that march across the landscape-oriented double-page spreads; where single-page cartoons exist, they are typically paired with others of similar ilk (“A car, a man, a maraca” appears opposite the pan in which sits the dog and the pagoda). Page turn after wacky page turn results in the inevitable speculation as to the type of fevered brain that might produce these fancies; an author’s note modestly claims only half of the 170 palindromes contained herein, and gracious credit is given to the creators and inspiration for the others. But there is a darker side to the fun: a cartoon hints at the possible strain suffered by those cursed with aibohphobia (an unusual fear of palindromes)—a wide-eyed man lies in bed, trapped in the infinite repetitions of “Six is a six is a six. . . .” Good at least for several minutes of chuckles, these spirited cartoons may inspire readers young and old to find linguistic and artistic opportunity in gnu dung. (Picture book/nonfiction. 10+)