Verses on diverse topics, to read fast or slow, loud or low, to audiences of one or many.
Coelho writes in such a casual, loose-jointed style that even a poem written to demonstrate how “rhyming words really pop!” forcibly yokes “stars” with “far” and “snows” with “grow.” He kits each short poem or group of poems with largely interchangeable performance suggestions, from “Start softly and finish LOUD. This is called crescendo!” to (for a choral presentation) an unhelpful “try reading some lines together and some lines separately.” The typography is likewise generic, as all the poems are printed in the same size and, except for bolded homophones in one about the experiences of a “Chilly Chili,” weight. Still, two scary entries—one featuring an unseen creature creeping up to whisper in your ear (“Don’t Look Now”), the other about unexpectedly coming upon a cave filled with human remains (“The Bones of Pampachiri”)—offer delicious chills that balance the lightheartedness of groups of riddles and tongue twisters. For visual exuberance, Gray-Barnett uses scribbly lines and garish colors to good effect, and children or other human figures, when they appear, seem a racially and ethnically diverse lot.
A pleasant-enough gathering, with some bright spots. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)