A charming, gorgeously illustrated children’s collection of light verse.
Wilson and Goode here combine their comedic artistry to create an edgy and substantial collection of light verse with exquisite accompanying pen-and-ink drawings unafraid to explore childhood’s darker reaches. From typographical play to concrete poems, Wilson pulls out a number of visual poetic stops in inviting readers to “think / outside / the box” and ponder humorous cautionary tales on the perils of fibbing, snitching and sibling rivalry, alongside wildly concocted romps through the imagination. A number of memorable creatures emerge from these pages—for example, “Horace Hippopotamus,” who “ate more than he oughtamus,” and a miffed ladybug, who admonishes: “Stop calling me lady. / Please. I’m a dude!” Awkward situations are celebrated in poems such as “Wishy-Washy,” where the speaker blows out birthday cake candles while silently imploring, “I wish Evan liked me!” Alas, “right then Evan picks his nose, / which turns his finger green!”; horrified, the speaker cries: “Relight the candles… / My first wish was a huge mistake. / I need to trade it in!” Here, as throughout the volume, in but a few strokes, Goode’s pen deftly realizes the moment: the offending finger prominently up Evan’s nose, the speaker’s heart-shaped wish wafting from the birthday candles’ smoke, jaggedly rent in half.
At once affirming, silly, and poignant: a stunning visual and poetic compendium on growing up. (Poetry. 8-11)