This illustrated book offers 15 rhymed, humorous poems for children in preschool and kindergarten.
In her debut children’s book, Sutherland writes light verse that touches on favorite children’s topics such as animals, nature, and playtime. Subjects include a frog, a spat between animal friends, a fun sailboat, and the zoo. Some verses are abecedarian, such as “Imagination,” which makes some imaginative choices for the letters: “N goes well with Narwhal, / O, my funny friend Otter, and P, my Poison Dart Frog.” Similarly, “A Dreamy Dialogue” describes how a sleepy child’s stuffed animals get together to discuss the alphabet, each with a favorite: “ ‘A,’ advised the Anteater. / One stuffed Bear roared, ‘B!’ / ‘C,’ cawed the courageous Crow / while Don the Dromedary droned, ‘D.’ ” In this example, Sutherland’s meter works well, creating an enjoyably rollicking rhythm. Other verses, though, are less successful. “Twelve Months of Fun,” for example, explains typical pursuits and holidays throughout the calendar year, a useful topic for children, but the poem varies its rhyme scheme from verse to verse (ABAB, ABCB, AABA, etc.). A more regular scheme would have set up the pleasing cycle of expectation and fulfillment that makes rhyming such an effective technique. Sutherland’s scansion is off in this verse, too: “Now colts, now lambs cavorting at play. / Now ducklings, now a day devoted to Mom.” The first line is iambic tetrameter, but the second wanders, lessening the appeal. When everything’s working, though, the verses can be wonderfully silly, as in “An Awesome Fall”: “Do you know / Who is Witch Who Who? / A friend I knew knew who.” The childlike, color-washed illustrations match well with the content; they mostly depict animals and nature, but the two children shown provide a touch of diversity.
Some good verses to read aloud while teaching ABCs and the calendar to kids.