A captivating use of language to spark children’s interest in words and rhymes shapes this collection of 26 short poems by Howell, a prolific picture-book author whose poetry has frequently appeared in children’s literary magazines.
A jaunty orange squirrel is a “Bulb digger, / nest rigger, / seed stacker, / nut cracker, / tree stalker, / fence walker.” A balloon wants to hear words “that lift and fly, / like float and waft, / or DRIFT and sky.” Ranging in style from couplets and quatrains to free-form poetry and nontraditional haiku, the poems are graphically designed so that certain words are capitalized and set in different colors for eye-catching emphasis. The fanciful, funny, kid-respecting tone of the poems is delightfully matched by respected Canadian illustrator Wray. Among his brightly colored images of Howell’s subjects—the seasons, trees, the wind, animals, insects, and a diverse cast of kids—are “hysterical” hyenas, a clown in a pickle jar, bare feet in summer grass, a tantrum-throwing baby lettuce, a little girl eating cake with a blue dinosaur in a chef’s hat (“Pete, My Dino”), dancing piggies with umbrellas (“Thud and Splash”), swirls of lap-threatening spaghetti, anchovies afloat over a pizza, and rosy-cheeked, sleepy mushrooms wearing “spongy caps / for little shaded buggy naps.” Lap-sitters and early readers are sure to have their favorites. This is a book made for read-aloud (and rereading) fun.
An entrancing, lively book that celebrates words and a child’s imagination. (author bio, illustrator bio)