Robbery here comes with rhyming wordplay.
“Once upon a time, / a thief committed a crime. / Everything he stole was replaced with a rhyme.” The thief takes pink, fuzzy Hammy’s hat and swaps it with a cat. The Silly Putty–like Marlow’s smile is replaced with a crocodile. As each new heist is announced on recto, the following verso reveals a new rhyming substitute that makes little sense, resulting in ridiculous fun. Matte colors in primary hues against a complementary solid background feature a motley assortment of black-outlined, googly-eyed, monsterlike characters from which various items are stolen by an equally strange-looking bandit dressed in jailbird black-and-white stripes. Tootle, a blue creature with green nose and limbs set against a pink backdrop, loses its dog, which is replaced by a barking log. Blue, birdlike Gertie’s pretty rainbow house, set against a sunny yellow background, is replaced by a giant gray mouse. The unexpected silliness of each larcenous conclusion will have kids stealing giggles and groans as this crook pilfers the normal order of sensible language on the way to an absurd, rhyming finale. Unable to find any match for Tumble’s orange (“Borange? Dorange? Porange?”), the burglar, momentarily stumped, is finally arrested and taken to jail—but an escape leaves readers to anticipate a new series of rhyming offenses.
Multiple readings might encourage new illogical rhyming sequences for even more hysterical laughter. (Picture book. 4-8)