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Boy Wonders Hardcover – June 28, 2011
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About the Author
Calef Brown is the New York Time #1 bestselling author and illustrator of Flamingos on the Roof, Tippintown, Dutch Sneakers and Fleakeepers, and Polkabats and Octopus Slacks. He lives in Maine.
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I'm sure you've received emails with a collection of one-liners to ponder, such as "Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?" This book contains a number of such lines, although appropriate for children. In fact, I've seen one line from the book in those emails: "If I'm too tired, am I a bike?" But there are plenty of lines that I haven't seen before such as, "Do clouds get jealous during storms and steal each other's thunder?"
I like how this book interweaves playing with meaning and playing with sounds. "If mud in a puddle makes it muddled, / do kiddie pools become piddled?" Many of the questions and word plays rhyme, and there are also several places where the author slips in some almost-rhymes with a wink and a grin: "Just for the sake of argument, / suppose I became an Argonaut. / Would I say "Arrgh" a lot, like a pirate? / WOULD THEY REQUIRE IT?
As delightful and whimiscal as I find the text, however, I'm not as enraptured by the illusions. The pictures are bright, colorful and basically engaging, but the quality looks like something I could do. People/faces are especially simplistic, as if drawn by an eight-year-old. I suppose that the boy narrator is also supposed to be the illustrator, and the drawings are intentionally child-like, but it doesn't quite work - it comes off simply like a skilled adult trying to draw like a child.
Nevertheless, I recommend this book for elementary age kids. If your child has a grasp of a play on words, this is a good book to develop mental gymnastic skills.