Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant: And Other Poems

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What do you get when you cross . . .
A toaster with a toad?
A tuba with a baboon?
A clock with an octopus?
A hat with a chicken?
An umbrella with an elephant?

Why . . .
A Pop-up Toadster
A Tubaboon
The Clocktopus
A Hatchicken and . . .
The Bold Umbrellaphant

And what do you get when you cross this book with a kid?

Why . . .
The Happy Kibook!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Prelutsky fans are in for a treat with this collection that combines his latest book of poetry with two other favorite anthologies (Scranimals; What a Day It Was at School!) and features several original songs. Each poem spotlights an animal that shares characteristics of some inanimate object (i.e., the title character is an elephant with an umbrella for a trunk). Among the selections that Prelutsky has set to music are "The Ballpoint Penguins": "The ballpoint penguins black and white/ Do little else but write and write./ Although they've nothing much to say,/ They write and write it anyway." Prelutsky's confident reading conveys the witty, matter-of-fact silliness that is the hallmark of his work. His troubadour-like folk-style songs and musicianship on acoustic guitar are an entertaining bonus. Ages 4-up. (Oct. 2006)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
Berger's (Not So True Stories & Un- reasonable Rhymes) inventive, textured collages add up to a visual treat in this first-rate collection of Prelutsky poems. Readers will behold not only the bold umbrellaphant, whose trunk is literally an umbrella, but also more than a dozen other amusing creatures who (similar to the hybrid mythical beasts of Prelutsky's Scranimals) are a cross between an actual animal and an inanimate object, and exhibit combined traits of both. "The Solitary Spatuloon," its body shaped like a black spatula with wings, cries "Syrup!" plaintively, flipping pancakes with its tail. ("Its tail, we note, is well designed/ With this peculiar task in mind.") Especially clever are "The Tearful Zipperpotamuses," whose bodies are zippers that keep unzipping, "So they worry and they fret/ That their insides will fall outside,/ Though this hasn't happened yet." The clever rhymes do not miss a beat, and Berger's collages brim with both unusual visual humor and irony. She pictures the Clocktopus ("Its tentacles in tempo/ With the clock upon its face") with as many clocks, pocket watches and wristwatches as it has appendages, none of them synchronized; and "The Ballpoint Penguins" swoop like ice skaters on lined pages used for cursive writing exercises the critters "do little else but write and write./ Although they've nothing much to say,/ They write and write it anyway." Young readers will behold a wonderful, fantastically silly book. Ages 4-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
Prelutsky has the uncanny ability to take the ordinary and with a twist make it creative and amusing. When you cross an umbrella with an elephant you get an umbrellaphant that is protected from the shade and sudden rain. Ballpoint Penguins come in black and white and "do little else but write and write." The combination of toads and toasters results in Pop-up Toadsters that hop and hop "and place in slots atop their heads fresh slices of assorted breads." So it goes through Cloctopuses, Zipperpotamuses, Tweasels, the Circular Sawtoise, the Shoehornets, and Panthermometers, etc. These poems beg to be read aloud and could serve as a springboard for imaginative creatures from clever readers. Full color art interprets the zany creatures from toasters with toad legs to hippos with zippers, and a menacing panther with a thermometer tail, and brings life to Prelutsky's wild pairings. This is just plain fun from cover to cover and will be a hit with his legion of fans.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Prelutsky is one of the best word crafters in the business, and this collection does not disappoint. Each entry is about a creature that is part animal and part inanimate object. For instance, the Alarmadillos have alarm clocks for bodies, and the Ballpoint Penguins can write with their beaks. The poems are full of fun and wit, with wordplay and meter that never miss a beat. The whimsical illustrations use cut-print media, old-fashioned print images, and a variety of paper textures to create a rich visual treat well suited to the poetry. The detail in the mixed-media pictures makes this a good choice for individual or lap reading, but the poetry begs to be read aloud. This is definitely a "do not miss" poetry pick.-Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal

Gr 2–6
Jack Prelutsky brings his collection of poetry to life in this recording. The real treat, though, is Prelutsky simply but dramatically singing his words, in addition to reading the text. The premise of the verse lies in combining an animal and an inanimate object. "What do you get when you cross a toaster with a toad? A tuba with a baboon? A clock with an octopus? A hat with a chicken? An umbrella with an elephant? Why…A pop-up toadster, a tubaboon, the clockopus, a hatchicken and the bold umbrellaphant." Kids will appreciate the raw silliness of the verse, as well as the exercise in imagination required to envision such characters. In addition to the verse from the title book (Greenwillow, 2006), Prelutsky also reads from two other similar titles, What a Day It Was in School! (Greenwillow, 2006) and Scranimals (Greenwillow, 2002). Be sure to have the title book available so that listeners can also look at Carrie Berger's photo cut-paper collage illustrations that are a visual treat. Teachers may want to use this title as a springboard for their classes' own inventions. Perfect for leisure listening as well as poetry and word study units.
—Kirsten MartindaleCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
The reigning king of iambic "pun"tameter returns with 17 new poems. By compressing words with shared syllables, Prelutsky hybridizes common objects and animals. Kids will delight in meeting "The Eggbeaturkey," "Shoehornets" and "The Ballpoint Penguins." The poems, most executed in iambic tetrameter, turn on trademark absurdity: "The TRUMPETOOS and TUBAOONS / Are blaring out discordant tunes. / They play them loud, they play them long, / But most of all, they play them wrong." Tautly controlling meter and rhyme, Prelutsky brings the roiling fun to a simmer with wry conclusions. ("They march about in close array. / We wish they'd simply march away, / Or stop and take a silent snooze- / Those TUBABOONS and TRUMPETOOS." Berger's whimsical collages craftily handle exotica like "The Solitary Spatuloon" and "The Ocelock." A few poems present challenges. "The Limber Bulboa's" pun is a stretch for younger gigglers, though redeemed with this surefire couplet: "It has no idea what it's likely to find / As it lights up its way with its brilliant behind." Pretty brilliant, indeed. (Poetry. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060543174
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/26/2006
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 446,306
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Prelutsky

Jack Prelutsky is the best-selling author of more than fifty books of poetry, including The New Kid on the Block, illustrated by James Stevenson, and Stardines Swim High Across the Sky, illustrated by Carin Berger. Jack Prelutsky lives in Washington State.

Carin Berger is an award-winning designer and illustrator. Her cut-paper collages are made using ephemera, such as catalogues, old books, receipts, letters, and ticket stubs. In a starred review, Kirkus said of her Forever Friends, "Sophisticated, sensitive, and accessible, this picture book will offer new insights and pleasures with each season." The Little Yellow Leaf was a 2008 New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books selection, and in a starred review, Publishers Weekly called her A Perfect Day "lovely." She is also the illustrator of the acclaimed Stardines Swim High Across the Sky and Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant, both by Jack Prelutsky, among other books. She lives with her family in New York City.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderful reading!

    Bought this as a gift for my 4 yr old. We had read it at the library and she loved it, so thought she would like it for our home library. She was so excited when she opened it! She literally cackles when we read it at the silliness of the characters, and my 8 yr old loves to read it also. We are planning craft activities to go along with this book. Jack Prelutsky is genius!

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