Lest readers forget to observe (actual) holidays like Worm Day (March 15) or Yell ‘Fudge!’ at the Cobras in North America Day (June 2), Lewis offers a lyrical reminder, with several of the special occasions crashed by a squadron of rats. In honor of Pink Flamingo Day (May 29), Lewis fashions a concrete poem: “A Flamingo is a long cooooooooool drink of something pink,” and for International Cephalopod Awareness Day, a scuba-diving rat with a toilet plunger greets a doe-eyed octopus: “I wish I was an octopus/ In inky-dinky weather./ Then you and I could octopush/ Our suction cups together.” Raff’s loose washes with ink details exude personality and humor (a skunk’s photo shoot has her posing next to a bottle of “Eau de Eeeew!”) in this gleefully silly crowd-pleaser. Ages 5–8. (Mar.)
Raff’s loose washes with ink details exude personality and humor...in this gleefully silly crowd-pleaser.
Funny from start to finish, these superbly crafted poems and inventive illustrations celebrate the extraordinary, odd, and seldom heard of holidays that the elementary-school crowd will love. Raff’s intelligent artwork adds to the lighthearted play with many surprises...The entire book is such fun that children will will want to shout, “It’s J. Patrick Lewis Day!”
—School Library Journal
Those who annually circle “Cow Appreciation Day” or “Ohio Sheep Day” on their calendars will welcome this literary recognition, but even those who don’t keep “Bulldogs Are Beautiful Day” holy will enjoy the poems as witty nonsense. Highly amusing anthropomorphized creatures rendered in ink lines and washes celebrate on white single- or double-page spreads, and sometimes there are pretty practical curriculum connections, such as “Limerick Day” (May 12) and “International Cephalopod Awareness Day” (October 8). Happy reading and a happy “Yell ‘Fudge!’ at the Cobras in North America Day” to all!
The poems are lots of fun to read aloud, with twists and turns, rhyme and rhythm, and form variations from couplets, to concrete, to verse and limerick with inner rhymes and invented words. Lewis’ poems are delightful...
—Library Media Connection
The Children’s Poet Laureate takes a tongue-in-cheek look at some of the weird and wacky holidays that never quite make it onto commercially printed calendars.
Obscure but entertaining holidays get their own poem, each one funny, playful, and even instructive...Raff’s ink washes and drawings feature animals with lots of personality.
—The Horn Book
Unofficial as the holidays may be, they’ll provide plenty of curricular occasions and some goofy reading aloud, and kids may leap on the notion of creating and celebrating their own invented holidays.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
With its fun, puns, whimsical animal watercolors and general goofiness, this hilarious work recalls Shel Silverstein.
—New York Post
These 26 selections ... will tickle the funny bones of even those who are poem-phobic. Coupling the words of Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis with the loosely composed cartoons of Anna Raff ramps up the fun. Everywhere you look, there’s one more raffish rat doing nonsensical (and occasionally naughty) things.
—The Washington Post
K-Gr 3—Funny from start to finish, these superbly crafted poems and inventive illustrations celebrate the extraordinary, odd, and seldom heard of holidays that the elementary-school crowd will love. Raff's intelligent artwork adds to the lighthearted play with many surprises. On "Worm Day" (March 15th), a troupe of worm scouts sporting their uniform scarves listens attentively while the scout master points toward a map of key locations next to an anatomical diagram of their subject, the robin. In another poem, an oversize Mae West of a cat, wearing a crown, reclines regally on the couch while confetti litters the air and balls of yarn dangle from the ceiling like balloons-it's "Happy Mew Year"-and the dog of the house looks on confused. Lewis writes, "On Mew Year's Day, /Let my cat be/The Queen of Purriosity…." January 16th is "Dragon Appreciation Day," and the dragons are feasting. Some of the tips on their etiquette menu include, "Never blow on your soup. That only makes it hotter" and "Play with your food, but don't let it run around screaming." For "National Skunk Day," the illustration shows a skunk posing for a photo beside a bottle of spray perfume while the photographers and lighting crew-all rats-struggle to repress their olfactory impulses. The entire book is such fun that children will will want to shout, "It's J. Patrick Lewis Day!"—Teresa Pfeifer, The Springfield Renaissance School, Springfield, MA
The Children's Poet Laureate takes a tongue-in-cheek look at some of the weird and wacky holidays that never quite make it onto commercially printed calendars. The vast majority of the holidays here celebrate animals: from turtles, pigs and worms to pink flamingos, skunks and sloths, among others. While many of the above may not seem celebration-worthy, a few holidays are even stranger: International Cephalopod Awareness Day (Oct. 8) and two that many will instantly add to their personal calendars: Yell "Fudge" at the Cobras in North America Day (Jun. 2) and Chocolate-Covered Anything Day (Dec. 16). But while the subject matter is certainly fascinating and amusing, the poetry can be uneven, though the riffs on English spellings shine, and the wordplay is consistently clever, especially in "Eight Table Manners for Dragons." But there is also an element of grimness and edginess--"Play with your food, but don't let it run around screaming." Raff's heavily anthropomorphized watercolor critters here include one rat with tail aflame and another pinned to the floor between the tines of a fork. Limerick Day's five poems are equally weak, while Frog Jumping Day's verse has nowhere near the creativity and sheer reading pleasure of the similar "Puddle Paddle Battle" from Dr. Seuss' Fox in Socks. And parents who don't want to explain might want to skip Mule Day's poem, "Jack A." Though it's bumpy, it's still a novel way to add some zany celebrations to the family or classroom calendar. (Poetry. 5-8)