Nonsense verse for young readers explores a comical world.
In his debut collection, Orley imagines humorous, often absurd situations, presented in no particular order. While all the verses rhyme, the scheme varies, usually scanning well with a good rhythm. Sometimes the perspective is from a grown-up, sometimes that of a child. For example, in the title verse, an adult bemoans having to go to work, so he phones his boss to call in well. He then goes on to enjoy his day, which includes chocolate milk and cake for breakfast, taking an enjoyable walk in the park, chatting with people he meets in the city square, and expressing his joie de vivre. He’s even happy to greet a snake in the park, discovering that “The more friendly that you are to snakes, / The more friendly they [are] to you.” Though bosses and parents might disagree, readers of any age can appreciate the desire to skip responsibilities and thoroughly explore what life has to offer. Some verses offer moral reflections, as in “Dear Santa,” in which the speaker requests an extravagant list of gifts (castle, roller coaster, pet dinosaur), but finally asks “So just keep my family safe and warm, / And this will be enough.” That’s a bit pious, but the effort is more effective in “Good News,” where the speaker—upset by the news on TV—goes out to observe the neighborhood and sees much to encourage him: “A lady picking up some trash and cleaning up the street; / A little boy with his dog, feeding him a treat.” That’s a useful reminder for anyone, child or adult. But most verses simply describe absurdities, as with “Ben Backward” (every sentence is written with the word order reversed) or “My Very Own Language,” which is enjoyably Jabberwockian, including an entire stanza of nonsense: “Herpa ma vert, / Nop flock hocktoodle, / Sim sim malim, / Kicky kapoodle.” The uncredited illustrations are colorful and depict diversity but are flat and lack background detail.
Enjoyable scenarios where silliness rules.