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Poems to Make You Laugh

by X. J. Kennedy & illustrated by Joy Allen

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-316-38423-2
Publisher: Little, Brown

For those children who have memorized all of Shel Silverstein’s poems (and for those adults who have heard enough of them), here’s a substantial collection of humorous poetry in Silversteinian style, complete with black-and-white line drawings on the half Shel (similar to his style, but not as successful). Kennedy (Elefantina’s Dream, 2002, etc.) divides the 86 rhyming poems into sections by subject, including themes of family members, animals, unusual characters, food, and dinosaurs. Two poems (“Mixed-up School” and “One Winter Night in August”) as well as several limericks are naturals for classroom use, along with other poems that make use of fairy tale or mythological characters. The works range in length and difficulty from just four lines to two pages, and the poems also span a range of quality from excellent to amusing but lightweight, with a few that sacrifice some meaning or natural language patterns to the rhyme scheme. Many of the poems are reprinted from other collections by Kennedy, and some have also been previously included in popular anthologies. Allen (My Best Friend Bear, 2001, etc.) has her own amusing style for her most of her line illustrations, though some of her work looks too close to Silverstein’s for comfort, especially in the same genre. Large collections of light, entertaining poetry of this sort have a built-in audience; recommended for most poetry collections in school and public libraries. (Poetry. 6-10)