From School Library Journal
Grade 2-5–In Math Curse
(Viking, 1995), a teacher's chance comment causes a girl to see every aspect of her life as a math problem. This time around, the fun starts when a boy hears this remark: "…if you listen closely enough, you can hear the poetry of science in everything." What follows is a series of poems that parody the styles of Joyce Kilmer, Edgar Allan Poe, Lewis Carroll, Robert Frost, and many others, as well as familiar songs and nursery rhymes. "Once in first grade I was napping/When I heard a scary yapping" begins a lament about studying dinosaurs year after year. In "Astronaut Stopping by a Planet on a Snowy Evening," the narrator bemoans the fact that he can't figure out what planet he's on because "In science class I was asleep…." Children need not be familiar with the works upon which the spoofs are based to enjoy the humor, but this is a perfect opportunity to introduce the originals and to discuss parody as a poetic form. The dynamic cartoons are an absolute delight. The expressions on the face of the beleaguered boy keep readers smiling and the pages are chock-full of funny details that are in perfect sync with the poems. Printed in a cream-colored, readable font and set against solid backgrounds, the text is never overwhelmed by the frenetic illustrations. Fans of Scieszka and Smith will be in heaven, but the book will appeal to one and all.–Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
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*Starred Review* Gr. 3-5. In this worthy companion to Math Curse
(1995), a boy sits in science class listening to his teacher drone on about "the poetry of science," when he is stricken with a "curse of science verse." Every thought comes to him in rhyme, and not just any rhyme, but parodies of famous poems and songs. Not just any parodies, but hilarious ones, particularly for those familiar with the originals, from Kilmer's "Trees" and Poe's "The Raven" to "I'm a Little Teapot" and "Eenie, meanie, mynie, mo." Clever and often droll, the verse ably juggles facts, meter, and rhyme schemes and usually reflects a student's point of view: grossed out by the human body, bored by yet another year of dinosaur study, more concerned about writing down the right answer than getting at the truth. Smith's multimedia collage artwork, incorporating drawings, paintings, and printed materials, is sophisticated yet accessible... A beautifully designed book--intelligent, irreverent, inviting, and downright irresistible. Carolyn PhelanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved