Rosenthal (Wumbers) expands her library of alphabetical and numerical wordplay books with a clever collection of “wordles,” homophonic words and phrases. When accompanied by Bloch’s (My Snake Blake) ebullient ink-scrawl drawings, the wordles make off-kilter picture stories. Some are simple (“Icy! Aye, sea!” shout pirates adrift in arctic waves), while others are startlingly elaborate. “Sorry, no more funnel cakes,” explains a vendor to a line of amusement-park customers headed by a disappointed, green-faced clown. On the next spread, two elk clutch their abdomens in distress, having wolfed down the last of that vendor’s supply: “Sorry, no more fun... elk aches.” A boy has arrows pointing toward the relevant parts of his trousers—“Pants. Knees.” He’s holding a long leash, and a page turn reveals an exhausted, allergic dog at the other: “Pant... sneeze.” A row of blobby people on parade make “A family affair”; doffing their hats a page later, they reveal wild coiffures, “A family of hair.” Even beginning readers can decode or guess many of the wordless, and they will love Bloch’s drawings—or are they “block straw wings”? Ages 5–up. Author’s agent: Amy Rennert, Amy Rennert Agency. (May)
From the Publisher
"Long on wit." - The Wall Street Journal
A Junior Library Guild Selection"
Witty wordplay guaranteed to tease and tickle." - Kirkus Reviews"
The queen of wordplay has done it again." - Daily Candy Kids
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Rosenthal applies a generous dollop of humor and skill with wordplay to a presentation of wordles-not word images designed on an Internet site, but phonetically identical phrases with different meanings, resourcefully introduced by definition and example on the title-and surrounding pages. Gradually increasing in difficulty, each phrase pair presented in a series of black ink cartoon images and collage imposed on block prints challenges readers to guess the corresponding word or phrase before turning the page. "Reindeer" fly through the air-turn quickly and a caring mother sheltered by an umbrella explains, "Rain, dear." "I see" becomes "icy" or "Aye, sea." Bloch treats children to motion-filled pages with large-eyed, uncomfortable reindeer, a Snow White and crone stepmother dominated by a large apple, a sneezing dog, a pirate ship amid icebergs, objects flying to escape the page, and a final tribute to the author's Little Pea (Chronicle, 2005). While a few of these wordles may be a bit of a stretch, the whole is a challenging, playful exercise that encourages thinking out of the box and careful listening.—Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano ISD, TX
This playful collection of 14 ingeniously illustrated "wordles" introduces readers to homophones. Opening with a definition of wordles as "groups of words that sound exactly the same but mean different things," the text immediately offers examples "I scream/ice cream" and "heroes/he rows." Commencing the game, it challenges readers to guess the second wordle of each subsequent pair before turning the page. Guessing "rain, dear" for "reindeer" may be obvious, but other wordles prove more challenging. Guessing "icy" for "I see" is not a stretch, but a second option of "Aye, sea!" may be, without the visual context of a pirate ship. Indeed, the zany, clever multimedia illustrations, with their deceptively childlike figures drawn in stark, black outlines, create a humorous visual context for each wordle, spinning surprising links between verbal juxtapositions. "A family affair" is visually represented by a line of people wearing assorted headgear. Its wordle, "a family of hair," is visually cued with the same line of people raising their chapeaux to reveal wild hair. Likewise, the illustration for "princess cape" of a creepy princess in a cape trying to kiss a knight tied up in yarn is followed by the wordle "prince escape," showing the foiled princess throwing up her arms as the knight's foot disappears through a door. Witty wordplay guaranteed to tease and tickle. (Picture book. 5 & up)