Polkabats and Octopus Slacks: 14 Stories

Overview

When Daniel Pinkwater performed Calef Brown's poetry on NPR, the response was tremendous. Pinkwater's animated personality and his appreciation for the delightfully silly make him the perfect voice to bring alive the inventive story-poems of Polkabats and Octopus Slacks.

Calef Brown's distinctive illustrations have appeared in numerous magazines and on book covers, CDs, soda cans, and gallery walls. In addition to the highly acclaimed Polkabats and Octopus Slacks: 14 Stories, he...

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Overview

When Daniel Pinkwater performed Calef Brown's poetry on NPR, the response was tremendous. Pinkwater's animated personality and his appreciation for the delightfully silly make him the perfect voice to bring alive the inventive story-poems of Polkabats and Octopus Slacks.

Calef Brown's distinctive illustrations have appeared in numerous magazines and on book covers, CDs, soda cans, and gallery walls. In addition to the highly acclaimed Polkabats and Octopus Slacks: 14 Stories, he has written and illustrated Dutch Sneakers and Fleakeepers: 14 More Stories.

Fourteen poems about a variety of fanciful topics.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
HWith ebullient Dixieland/ragtime jazz as accompaniment, Pinkwater, children's book author and radio personality, gleefully performs Brown's 14 hip and funny story-poems. An on-air rave about this book by Pinkwater during his children's book segment on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition Saturday back in 1998 helped put the title on the map (and obviously gave Pinkwater an edge when it came time to cast this audio production). Listeners can't help hearing Pinkwater's clear appreciation of the silly subject matter; at times he seems on the verge of giggling, reading lines like "Funky Snowman loves to dance./ You'd think he wouldn't have much chance/ without two legs/ or even pants.... Kick it, Funky Snowman!" Out-of-the-ordinary images abound, from a "tightrope traffic jam" of circus performers on Highwire 66 to the Bathtub Driver and his three-legged duck and Georgie Spider, pie baker extraordinaire. A great title for National Poetry Month, or any time. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-4While the title advertises 14 stories, this is actually a collection of poems. The subjects range from a man with octopus legs in bell-bottom pants to skeleton flowers. While some of the poems may entertain upper-elementary children, some of the intended humor will puzzle young readers; for example, the bats have jury duty and the pants fit like apple pie. While the silliness may hold some appeal, the rhythms are forced ("The pockets all have numbers, numbers on the jacket pockets"), making them difficult to read aloud. Many of the quirky illustrations feature animals with human heads or people of unusual colors. This is not a selection for libraries with limited budgets.Marty Abbott Goodman, L.J. Bell Elementary School, Rockingham, NC
From the Publisher
“A wacky, postmodern array of characters. . . . Brown’s illustrations (are) a perfect choice of style for the poetry’s quirky logic. An exuberant debut, equally enjoyable read silently or aloud.”—Booklist Booklist, ALA

“The deadpan tone and weird words, worthy of a carnival barker, inject a step-right-up sensibility into the humorous rhymes.”—Publishers Weekly Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618111299
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/4/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 288,447
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Pinkwater ives with his wife, the illustrator and novelist Jill Pinkwater, and several dogs and cats in a very old farmhouse in New York's Hudson River Valley.

Calef Brown began his career as a tour guide at an early age, when he discovered the simple joy of pointing things out. He is also an artist, writer, and frequently a blue elephant. Mr. Brown's illustrations have appeared in many magazines and newspapers, and his paintings have been exhibited in N.Y., L.A., S.F., and other places without fancy initials, like Osaka and Rome. He lives in Maine.

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2009

    Kansas City Octopus is looking good tonight!

    This is a favorite silly poem collection that will continue through generations to come. Recommended by a co-teacher, it is full of humor appropriate for children ages 1-99! While searching for that "favorite" poem my daughter can grow up with and share with her children in years to come, this was IT! Any adult who grew up in the 70's or 80's will identify with Kansas City Octopus.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2007

    One of a kind book!

    Every child I have given this to still talks about how much they love it. This is a fun and silly book for children 7 and older. I HIGHLY recommend it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2000

    What a hit!

    My niece received this book from her grandmother, who is especially adept at choosing wonderful books for children. The poems are inventive and hilarious, and my niece has them memorized...they're funky and funny and stay with you for a while. I found myself chuckling in the car on the way home. I haven't had as much fun as I had reading that book with my niece in a long, long time. A must for uncles who want to be in the know! 'Kick it, funky snowman!'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2000

    Toddler Tongue-Twisters Adults can Appreciate

    Not for everyone, but 'Polka-Bats. . . ' is a funky, refreshing collection of story-poems that will entice children who are expanding their vocabularies. Full of fantastic imagery and unusual descriptive phrases, this book is fun to look at and challenging to read aloud. Holds up well to repeated (and repeated and repeated) readings. A top-five favorite of my 20-month-old.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

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