Kids will find plenty to chuckle over in Douglas Florian's punchline-rich Laugh-eteria
, his seventh poetry offering after walloping successes like Bing Bang Boing
. Well loved for his shameless punnery, Florian never hesitates to manipulate the language to suit his whim: "Graffiti, graffiti, / On sidewalk and streeti, / On glass and concreeti, / And on subway seati," begins one poem. Some of his verse rhymes quite neatly, such as this stanza from "Don't Drag a Dragon": "Don't drag a dragon by its tooth. / To drag it such is most uncouth, / Discourteous, and impolite, / And it will eat you in one bite." "What I'd Like to Share" bounces jauntily as well: "I'd like to share a nasty cold / And all my clothing that's too old. / I'd like to share a rotten chore. / Perhaps you'd like to the sweep the floor?" Other poems seem more unfinished, as if Florian got so excited about a certain goofy upside-down idea that it simply spilled out onto the page. In any case, Laugh-eteria
is third-grader paradise, bursting with poem-riddles, flipped perspectives, and references to stinky feet, slimy food, monsters, noses, bugs, and dinosaurs that invariably reduce 8-year-olds to giggling heaps. Much like in Shel Silverstein
's collections, each double-page spread comes to life with the poet's own freestyle ink drawings
. Florian fans will enjoy the punster's groan-worthy wordplay, and kids will no doubt relish the rampant silliness that's strangely akin to their own. (Click to see a sample spread
. Text and illustrations from Laugh-eteria
, copyright ©1999 by Douglas Florian. Reproduced by permission of Harcourt Brace & Company. (Ages 4 to 9) --Karin Snelson
From Publishers Weekly
"The poems in this book/ Are meant to be humorous./ If they are not,/ Please laugh just to humor us." Kids won't have to force their laughter while reading Florian's (Insectlopedia) pithy verses. They poke fun at the everyday ("Our school lunch is from outer space,/ Endangering the human race") and the imaginary ("Hello, my name is Dracula./ My clothing is all blackula./... /At dawn I hit the sackula./ Tomorrow I'll be backula!"). Florian repeatedly shows that he knows what makes kids giggle. Some entries are mildly risqu?, as in "Brush Rush" ("Brush your teeth./ Brush your hair./ Brush your brother's underwear./ Your teeth are green./ Your hair is blue./ Your brother's underwearAP.U.!"). Others favor clever, euphonious wordplay, as in "Batty": "The pitcher pitched a pitcher./ The batter batted a bat./ The shortstop stopped up short to see/ The catcher catch a cat." The line drawings, however, aren't as pleasing as Florian's paintings elsewhere. Rendered with a brush, they have a rough, doodle-like quality, and only rarely expand on the imagery so punchily served up in the text. Ages 6-up.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.