A set of unabashedly surreal marine mix-ups designed to inspire young rhymesters.
Rhymes—not always exact ones—definitely trump logic as well as metrical regularity in these boisterous quatrains. Plunging in without preamble, Magee opens with an octopus who “likes / to cook and trot, / but its tentacles are / tied up in knots!” He then goes on to introduce a variety of oddly occupied sea and land animals, along with King Neptune (brown of skin in Tucker’s appropriately uproarious illustrations) wearing “a fried egg for a crown.” Gaggles of diversely hued mermaid shoppers, purple-winged sirens, and half-human sea horses follow, in settings ranging from a sunken ship with a treasure of “elephants, emus, and eyes!” to a submerged street scene featuring anglerfish wearing “false teeth and lipstick / when out for the night.” The co-published Topsy Turvy Animals features like rhyme-driven randomness in a series of likewise colorful but land-based hullaballoos. Both outings close with general suggestions for getting children to craft poems, and perhaps pictures, of their own.
Droll invitations to craft silly verse, though somewhat constrained in creative scope as the examplars are all written on the same template. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)