Monday, December 11

Exploding Gravy


Poems to Make You Laugh
by X. J. Kennedy
illustrated by Joy Allen
Little Brown 2002

How and why this hasn't crossed my threshold before, I don't know. In out house we have an avid poetry reader (age 8) who has read and reread all of Shel Silverstien's oeuvre, most if not all Jack Prelutsky's offerings, a good deal of James Stevenson's corn, a much-loved Karla Kuskin collection, a handful of Douglas Florian's imaginings and a variety of others. Her love of a particular Silverstien poem - The Rain in my Head -- is bolstered by her having memorized it back in kindergarden and to this day is still her favorite poem to recite.

It would seem that in all of her scouring of the poetry shelves we'd have seen this offering by X. J. Kennedy. It has the same feel a Silverstien collection with poems designed to entertain and illustrations to match. The poems are grouped (some more loosely than others) by subjects kids generally enjoy: far-out families, giants and dinosaurs, unlikely doings, and so on.

I stumbled onto this while shopping for the holidays, so I'm hoping my 8 year old poetess hasn't already read it, but even if she has poetry are the books she returns to over and over. It's one of those things kids do that somehow gets lost in the transition into adulthood. It's one of those mysteries I ponder, why it is that we drink in poetry as kids when we know nothing of poetic forms and structure, but feel as adults that we can't "understand" poetry because we feel a certain need to appreciate it on some higher level. Same problem with art museums I fear, but I digress.

In reading through the book I was sold once I reached a poem called "Italian Noodles":
Whenever I
Eat ravioli
I fork it fast
And chew it slowli
The poem's other rhymes follow suit: spaghetti/rhetti, ziti/priti, pasta/fasta (and the less impressive lasanga/on ya) and it's that love of goofy language that flies well in this house.


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