ONE BIG YO TO GO by Valerie Osborne

ONE BIG YO TO GO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Osborne's whimsical, tripping nonsense rhymes rely for their humor on offbeat speculation as well as on deft, simple rhymes. She wonders why we grow upward from the knees, instead of down; why, ""If I/ Sit to think/ In the drink/ I sink [whereas] when ducks/ Sit to think/ In the drink/ They don't sink""; and how long it would take for the notes to come out if a giraffe could sing. She muses, too, on skin, noses, and a number of ""weird fellows"": One plays a fiddle with his toe; another, Charlie Bloggs, "". . . goes around/ In London fogs,/ Painting spots/ On plain black dogs""; and Simon Sebastian Snips eats apple pips: ""I slip them in between my lips,/ And, way down low/ Between my hips,/ I've grown an apple tree/ From pips."" Novak responds to the surreal suggestion of this rhyme with a right-side-up apple tree rising between two upside-down legs, bare feet turned outward. In general, the paintings, predominantly bronze in tone, are more sophisticated (or pseudo-sophisticated) than the rhymes, a bit glib with their obvious borrowings from early 20th-century art history, and often obtrusively painterly. Sometimes, the wit comes off: a Klee-like maze for a worm poem is amusing, as is the surreal absurdity of a prim spook with detached red nose. And the rhymes' drollery is never arch or arty.

Pub Date: Aug. 6th, 1981
Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press