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Poem-mobiles: Crazy Car Poems

Poem-mobiles: Crazy Car Poems

4.5 2
by J. Patrick Lewis, Douglas Florian, Jeremy Holmes (Illustrator)

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The U.S. Children's Poet Laureate and an award-winning children's poet join their prolific forces in this picture book of poems about cars. But they're not just any cars: there's the "Sloppy-Floppy-Nonstop-Jalopy" ("So unique there is no copy"); the Bathtub Limosine ("With hot water heating / And porcelain seating"); and the "High Heel Car." Each of the


The U.S. Children's Poet Laureate and an award-winning children's poet join their prolific forces in this picture book of poems about cars. But they're not just any cars: there's the "Sloppy-Floppy-Nonstop-Jalopy" ("So unique there is no copy"); the Bathtub Limosine ("With hot water heating / And porcelain seating"); and the "High Heel Car." Each of the thirteen quirky, inventive poems will speak directly to the imaginations of children, as will Holmes's high-concept, detail-filled illustrations.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Sarah Harrison Smith
Lewis…and Florian…have written pithy, clever poems that are funny, too…though the pictures are curious and detailed, the poems are so engaging readers may find themselves overlooking the art. That's unusual in picture books, but a credit to Lewis and Florian's work and, if you'll excuse the pun, their narrative drive.
Publishers Weekly
★ 11/04/2013
Lewis and Florian bring new meaning to “hybrid automobile” in clever and concise poems packed with wordplay, puns, and double entendre. An impish array of people, monsters, and animals inhabit a loony, on-the-go world with such exotic vehicular mashups as the Fish Car, High-Heel Car, Balloon Car, and Caterpillar Cab. Holmes’s spry, mixed-media illustrations in lime greens, pinks, and metallic tones have a smooth, almost taffylike veneer, and handily match the witty and wondrous mood of the poems. Where the poets envision a post–fossil fuel automobile (“Here’s what we will be driving/ When oil and gasoline/ Are just a distant memory—/ The family li-mooo-sine”), he pictures a cow-drawn station wagon in a futuristic farmscape where a sheep peers at a neighboring farm planet through a giant telescope. A birdlike royal rides in the Bathtub Car, an ornate chariot chauffeured by a duckling: “With hot-water heating/ And porcelain seating,/ The Bathtub is speeding.” It’s all but sure to have readers dreaming up their own wild contraptions for land, sea, sky, and space. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
It is a sure thing that if you fill a book with things that go on wheels, many young children will pick it up. The U.S. Children's Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis and his co-author Douglas Florian have created a garage-full of wildly imaginative "things that go," from a "High-Heel Car" (a stiletto take on The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe) to a "Hot Dog Car" with more than a passing resemblance to the old Oscar Meyer Weiner-mobile. Younger readers, who are the main audience for car, truck, and other vehicle books, will miss the point of wonderful puns such as "Jurassic Park(ing)," and grandparents may have to explain that there was a time when real cars (not "Fish Cars") were designed with fins. Readers may, as I did, puzzle over the logic of a "Backwards Car" that ultimately ends up "where you launched your drive." (Don't all roundtrip car trips end up at the same place, backwards or forwards?) However, the Prelutsky-like humor in all of the poems requires the suspension of such intellectual ruminations and happy acceptance of these poems for what they are: light, spare, funny, and outrageous in their description of transportation. Jeremy Holmes' illustrations overload and overflow the pages with comic details and cartoonish fun. In a way, this is a Busy Town book for a slightly older and more sophisticated audience. With all the elements of picture, poem, and humor working so well together, this is an indispensable purchase for picture book and poetry collections. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4—The subtitle "Crazy Car Poems" correctly describes the contents of this collaboration-22 pieces of pure fanciful nonsense by two of America's cleverest and most inventive poets currently writing for young people. Offerings include a "Giant Bookmobile of Tomorrow," driven by the Gingerbread Man; a pirate-operated, ocean-going "Fish Car"; and a "Dragonwagon" that "feeds with greed on rusty bikes." The child whose dad navigates the 'Balloon Car' says "…boy, does he he get mad at me/When I call out- 'Hey, POP!' …and the elderly lady operating the first-prize, supersize 'High-Heel Car' "…wins every footrace/Then honks her shoehorn." It's quite possible that Holmes had the most fun of all creating his spot-on, detail-laden illustrations of bizarre imaginary worlds ranging from above the rooftops to beneath the sea. Parts of his digitally-colored pencil and watercolor paintings appear to be formed from mixed media: polymer clay, paper/cardboard collage, a folded sheet of lined notebook paper with a paperclip grille and ballpoint bumper. The number of clever eccentricities in the illustrations is eye-boggling. For example, in the scene accompanying 'Bathtub Car', the duck/king's 'royal throne' is the kind found in the bathroom. Younger children will like the silliness of the poems; older kids and adults will enjoy poring over the pictures. This highly entertaining collection is fun to read and will provide inspiration for youngsters trying to create their own humorous poetry.—Susan Scheps, formerly at Shaker Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews
Limitless possibilities for future car designs are imagined in a collection of free-wheeling verses. Everything from food items to animals to bathtubs and more are the inspirations for these strange vehicles. A paper car can be shredded if it breaks down, a bathtub car keeps you clean as you go, and a hot-dog car can be eaten at the end of the ride. A few of the verses refer either explicitly or obliquely to alternative fuels. There's a battery-powered "Eel-ectric Car" and unused fossil-fueled wrecks in "Jurassic Park(ing)," and in "23rd-Century Motors," oil and gas are totally passé. With a few exceptions the verses flow naturally with easy rhymes. Oddly, the first four lines of the introductory poem are awkward and not indicative of the mood and swing of the following lines and the remainder of the poems. But Lewis and Florian are both masters at creating lighthearted, fun-filled, breezy poems, and they do not disappoint in this joint venture. The text is placed as if on a stained and folded slip of paper, which is surrounded by Holmes' highly imaginative, bright and lively illustrations, rendered in pencil and watercolors with digital colors added. Endpapers are tire-tracked, and the contents page matches line drawings to the titles. Young readers will almost certainly be inspired to create their own wacky cars. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
12.30(w) x 13.50(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

J. PATRICK LEWIS, the U.S. Children's Poet Laureate, is one of the best known children's poets writing today, and the author of many celebrated picture books. His books include Doodle Dandies, Please Bury Me in the Library, and First Dog, as well as two previous S&W titles—Kindergarten Cat and The Fantastic 5&10¢ Store.

DOUGLAS FLORIAN is the creator of many acclaimed picture books, including Dinothesaurus, the recipient of four starred reviews; Comet, Stars, the Moon and Mars, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book and a Horn Book Fanfare; and Bow Wow Meow Meow, a Gryphon Award winner. 

JEREMY HOLMES's first book for children, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, received the Bologna Ragazzi Opera Prima Award. He also created the jacket image for On the Day I Died by Candace Fleming.

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Poem-mobiles: Crazy Car Poems 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
LOBOPA More than 1 year ago
The POEM MOBILE is for a boy from five to seven years of age. The creative poems tell stories of cars made from hot dogs, shoes, bath tubs, fish, paper, and dragons, and more creative ideas! The poems are delightful, funny, and "child silly." The pictures are animated, colorful and support the various poems. AS I read the poems orally, I was amazed at the vocabulary development for the child. I highly recommend this for the mental development for a young boy, but the book also uses a lot of creativity to stimulate the young child's imagination!I would also recommend this author's other books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Clever, Witty, Thoughtful...engaging and beautiful illustrations add to the experience. Huge hit with my vehicle loving 5-year old!