Although both author and illustrator have been honored in Britain for their work for children, this all-new collection is a long way from the best work of either. Rosen's (We're Going on a Bear Hunt) free-verse poems range from nonsense rhymes (``Tiffy taffy toffee/ on the flee flo floor... Kiffy kaffy coffee/ in a mig mag mug'') to prosy, four- or five-page monologues with nary an image. In ``The Field Trip,'' for example, the narrator/teacher scolds, ``All right/ as you know/ it was our plan to go out today-/ to the Science Museum... I saw that, Mark,/ I saw it./ Any more and you'll be out./ No trip, nothing.'' The so-called illustrations consist of a single monochrome drawing that is used as a border on every page; while the border design is detailed, the cumulative effect is numbing, as if the poems had been printed on a stack of stationery. All ages. (Dec.)
This collection features 65 poems by Michael Rosen, an English writer whose light verse is colloquial and childlike. Children who enjoy Prelutsky's work will find much to like in Rosen's poems: excellent descriptions of childhood experiences, sharp insights into people, and quite a bit of humor. Framing every two-page spread is a border: dozens of appealing characters from the poems lean in toward the page, acting out their roles, interacting a bit, and hamming it up for the reader. Rosen may need some introduction to American children, but they'll return to this volume for the pleasure of rereading his entertaining verse.