This debut collection of verse from TV writer/producer Harris hits a poetry trifecta: high energy, rhymes that can rival Cole Porter’s (“Nothing is impossible.... Every tooth is flossable”), and a torrent of ideas. Some poems turn on simple wordplay (“The Ice Cream Mondae”); others are surprisingly introspective (“I’m shy on the outside, but inside my head?/ I’m not at all shy—I’m outgoing instead”) or appear sappy on the surface, only to catch readers off guard with an ironic swerve. Parodies of nursery rhymes, meta-poetry that builds on earlier poems à la nesting dolls (“Read me the poem that’s titled ‘The Poem That’s Titled “The Poem That’s Titled ‘The Door’ ” ’ ”), and comments stuck to the pages provide more surprises. Smith’s homage to the 1950s aesthetic of artists such as Cliff Roberts is updated with diverse characters and loaded with over-the-top raucousness, and he includes some visual jokes all his own. The whole production is a worthy heir to Silverstein, Seuss, and even Ogden Nash: “If I ever find myself holding a gecko.../ I’ll lecko.” Ages 6–up. Author’s agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Sept.)
Praise for I'm Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups:
A New York Times Bestseller
A New York Times Editors' Choice
An NPR Best Book of 2017
An Amazon Best Book of 2017
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2017
A News & Observer Wilde Award Book of 2017
A Booklist Editors' Choice: Books for Youth 2017 Selection
A Kirkus Best Middle-Grade Books of 2017 Selection
School Library Journal's Best Books of 2017
Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books of 2017
An Iowa Public Radio Best Children's Books to Give in 2017
100 Scope Notes Top 20 Books of 2017
School Library Journal's Fuse #8 Blog - 2017 Poetry Books for Kids
A Nerdies 2017 Selection
NCTE's 2018 Notable Poetry Books
ALA-ALSC Notable Books for Children List 2018
A 2018-2019 Kentucky Bluegrass Award Nominee
A 2018-2019 Maine Student Book Award Nominee
A 2018-2019 North Carolina Children's Book Award Junior Book Nominee
A 2018-2019 Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award Nominee
A 2019 Rhode Island Children's Book Award Nominee
*"A frolicking romp through the zany world of nonsense verse.... Visual, aural, and downright guffaw-inspiring puns and riddles abound in this wildly imaginative and cleverly illustrated debut collection. The inspired and inspiring sense of play knows no bounds."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
*"Those who claim to hate poetry will enjoy this riotous compilation.... Fans of Ogden Nash, Shel Silverstein, and Jack Prelutsky will rejoice in finding another member of their gang. Smith matches Harris's wit with his own zaniness.... A surefire winner for reading aloud or for snickering with under the covers."
School Library Journal, starred review
*"Hits a poetry trifecta: high energy, rhymes that can rival Cole Porter's, and a torrent of ideas...a worthy heir to Silverstein, Seuss, and even Ogden Nash."
Publishers Weekly, starred review
*"A magnificently wacky romp through verse... This moving, madcap anthem to language is sure to stand the test of time."
Booklist, starred review
*"There's not a dud in the bunch."
The Horn Book, starred review
*"Comedy gold... There's not a dud in the bunch-this is one collection that rewards repeat visits."-The Horn Book, starred review
"This debut collection shines.... Together, this Hollywood writer and award-winning illustrator might just make all of us-the kids and the grown-ups-smile again."-The New York Times
"It's a veritable sundae of delights-layers of puns, word games, visual jokes-that I honestly would give to any kid ages short to tall."
NPR's Book Concierge
"The title is a lie! This inspired collection of nonsense verse from the executive producer of How I Met Your Mother showcases a rare gift for wacky wordplay."-People
"I am a grown man and this book made me laugh out loud. When I was a kid, this was the kind of book that made me want to make comedy."
Jason Segel, actor, screenwriter, producer, and author of Nightmares!
"This book, with its loony poems and seriously weird illustrations, is ridiculous, nonsensical, peculiar, outrageous, possibly deranged-and utterly, totally, absolutely delicious. Read it! Immediately!"
Judith Viorst, bestselling author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
"Chris Harris is a poet and everyone should know it! Love this book!"
Andrea Beaty, bestselling author of Rosie Revere, Engineer
"There once was a poet named Chris,
Whose book is quite hard to dismiss,
His poetry skill
Gives me quite a thrill,
And it's hard to write poetry, particularly if it's supposed to rhyme or fit into a certain rhythm, and if you don't believe me, take a look at this."
Lemony Snicket, bestselling author of A Series of Unfortunate Events and All the Wrong Questions
"I doubt that you'll ever read another book this clever, brilliant, or fun-but if you do, you'll say that that book is a Chris Harrisy one."
Esta Spalding, screenwriter and author of Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts
"Hate to laugh? Love feeling blue? Are you quite dull? And dreary, too? Too bad, these rhymes are NOT FOR YOU."
Emily Jenkins, author of Upside-Down Magic and Toys Go Out
"Chris Harris is one of the funniest, sharpest, cleverest (not a word) writers I've ever known (and I'm not just saying that because we share a last name). This book made me laugh and laugh and laugh. I can't recommend it enough."
Neil Patrick Harris, actor and author of The Magic Misfits
"Funniest book of the year for kids? Gosh, there's a lot of competition out there but. . . . YES, YES, ALL RIGHT, YOU GOT ME! This is probably the funniest book of 2017 for kids. "
Betsy Bird, A Fuse #8 Production
"Inventive...whimsical...worth adding to your shelf."
The Denver Post
"[A] hilarious, diverse treasury of original poems."-The Buffalo News
"Turns words into playthings and tickles readers' funny bones. If you thought poetry was boring, this book will change your mind."
The Mini Pages
"This delightfully amusing poetry will provide hours, days, even a lifetime of laughter."-Story Monsters Ink
"This collection would make a great addition to any classroom, demonstrating that poetry can be SO much fun!"-Baltimore's Child
"Overwhelmingly funny."-The Enterprise Record
Gr 3–8—Those who claim to hate poetry will enjoy this riotous compilation just as much as those who love the form. Fans of Ogden Nash, Shel Silverstein, and Jack Prelutsky will rejoice in finding another member of their gang. Wordplay abounds: "If ever I find myself holding a gecko…/I'll lecko." Typography is the source of gags, as when the letters "d" and "b" face off for a duel, turn to shoot each other, and fall over dead, having become the letters "p" and "q." And the title poem will have kids howling with laughter as the narrator repeatedly misses the most obvious rhymes: "I'm just no good at rhyming./It makes me feel so bad./I'm just no good at rhyming,/And that's why I am blue." Smith matches Harris's wit with his own zaniness, merging line drawings with printing techniques that add a variety of texture and mood. The interplay between text and illustration provides further delights. VERDICT A surefire winner for reading aloud or for snickering with under the covers. Every library will want to add this to its poetry collection.—Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY
A frolicking romp through the zany world of nonsense verse.In the storied tradition of Nash, Lear, and Dr. Seuss, Harris joins forces with Smith to present over 100 original poems and illustrations dedicated to having some serious fun. Visual, aural, and downright guffaw-inspiring puns and riddles abound in this wildly imaginative and cleverly illustrated debut collection. Harris and Smith unite to preach the gospel of irreverence, daring children to explore and test parental—and poetic—limits in a variety of circumstances, whether through typography, illustration, or verse. In "Toasted Knight for Lunch Again?" Smith's vividly textured multimedia double-page spread features Mama Dragon and Baby in conversation, as Baby points to lifeless Sir Gustav laid out on a plate, the feathery plume in his helmet serving as garnish, and whines, "No armor, Mom— / I want him / With the crust off!" In " 'Tis Better," Harris cheekily weighs in on the virtues of giving versus receiving, stating: "If that thing's a black eye… / Then yeah, I believe it!" Harris and Smith even extend their banter to each other, Harris going so far as to bluntly state, "I Don't Like My Illustrator," and then Smith exacting revenge with a portrait of a snaggle-toothed, hairy-eared Harris with snot dripping from his nose. The inspired and inspiring sense of play knows no bounds. (Poetry. 5-12)