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The Underwear Salesman: And Other Jobs for Better or Verse
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The Underwear Salesman: And Other Jobs for Better or Verse

by J. Patrick Lewis, Serge Bloch (Illustrator)
 

Have you ever talked at length with an exterminator?

Or had a heart-to-heart with an ice sculptor?

Or waxed philosophical with an acrobat?

No?

Well, look inside.

Overview

Have you ever talked at length with an exterminator?

Or had a heart-to-heart with an ice sculptor?

Or waxed philosophical with an acrobat?

No?

Well, look inside.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In this "handy guide/ (For children overqualified/ For boring jobs"), Lewis (Doodle Dandies ) and the sublime Bloch (Butterflies in My Stomach ) catalogue some of the more esoteric professions. There's the crossword puzzle maker ("I make up clues for/ 'Olive' (green), / 'Lentil or garbanzo' (bean)" and the titular specialty haberdasher ("You wear them briefly/ And in short,/ I sell them chiefly/ For support"); the center spread salutes the marathon runner with a poem set into the map of a course. Lewis deserves applause for his sophisticated wordplay and his willingness to push readers in terms of poetic conceits: anyone who attempts to explain to kids what a philosopher does-in verse, no less-deserves a paean himself. It's a shame, then, that poems that start out so promisingly often run out of steam and wrap up with weak jokes (a pet groomer bemoans a customer who forgets "toupee"; a plumber works in "Inside The Twoilet zone"). Bloch's wonderful digital collages save the day: his signature combination of piquant ink doodles and witty found objects lends elegant playfulness to every page. Ages 7-10. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Lewis introduces readers to the employment possibilities in about 50 jobs, using his usual cleverly crafted rhymes and wide-ranging sense of humor. This "handy guide/(For children overqualified/ For boring jobs)" ranges from underwear salesman and librarian, elevator operator and belly dancer, to plumber ("Inside the Twoilet zone") dog trainer, pet groomer, and paleontologist. Each verse is rich with word play and fun along with information. There is even a "poem in two voices" called "Morning Talk-Show Hosts" but all would make amusing read-alouds. Bloch uses digital collage to visualize the accompanying illustrations: a few black lines and torn fragments of crossword puzzles form the puzzle-maker; a wild cartoon-y purple dog drags the trainer; a red pincushion is the head of the acupuncturist, etc. They are amusing on their own while reinforcing the poetic potential of the words. Don't miss the assorted, price-marked undershorts on the end pages. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 4-8

Forty-nine poems describe nearly as many occupations, several of them nontraditional-ice sculptor, acrobat, bridge painter, belly dancer. As in his previous collections, Lewis has included a variety of styles: rhyming pairs, quatrain, limerick, series of rhyming words. His talent for tongue-in-cheek wordplay ("I give my bulldog a quick/Tug-of-warning!"-"Dog Trainer"), illustrative description ("A sixty-mile-an-hour mole/On automatic cruise control"-"Subway Driver"), and alternative format such as poetic conversation in two voices ("Ventriloquist" and "Morning Talk-Show Hosts") show youngsters that poetry can take many forms. Bloch's digital collage illustrations appear to be black-ink or marker doodles of various sizes, many filled in with color and others enhanced with wrinkled paper, yarn, plastic eyes, bits of cloth, or realia mentioned in the accompanying poems. Their bright colors; odd little details; and, in some instances, childlike appearance add tremendous appeal to the selections. This finely crafted, entertaining volume should find a place in most collections.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, Ohio

Kirkus Reviews
The goofy cover and subtitle alone will raise giggles as they set the stage for Lewis to play poetic pundit for 47 jobs-odd jobs. To name just a few: Elevator Operator, Ice Sculptor, Belly Dancer, Highway Line Painter, Marathon Runner, Banana Picker, Crossword Puzzle Maker, Ventriloquist, Acupuncturist, Plumber (the job "inside the Twoilet Zone") and even Librarian. Bloch's quirky, digital collage illustrations play up the silliness of the rhymes, some of which are better and some are "verse," while the wacky page compositions caricature the unusual careers. Some poetry lines and details in the illustrations skew more to adult humor than children's; the Fashion Designer spread, for instance, includes a small drawing of Karl Lagerfeld. But what a way to liven up Career Day! Kids will love the humor-a sample, from the Skyscraper Window Washer: "Window pain: / Ordinary words / Cannot express / My thoughts on birds." The picture shows the man with birds (and a bit of poo) on his head and his squeegee. A solid selection. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689853258
Publisher:
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
03/10/2009
Pages:
64
Sales rank:
1,384,900
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 9.70(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

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