I'm in today with a look at I'M JUST NOT GOOD AT RHYMING AND OTHER NONSENSE FOR MISCHIEVOUS KIDS AND IMMATURE GROWN-UPS by Chris Harris, illus. by Lane Smith.
How's that for a title? This book is really a throw-back to Shel Silverstein, except with more structure? (I've been trying to figure out how best to describe it!) It's fun, irreverent, witty, and gets high high marks for its kid appeal.
The author actually is very good at rhyming, and I liked how "The Door" poem kept showing up, serving as a narrative thread. And the fun continues through the back matter.. ever heard of an "Outdex"? "For titles that did not make the final cut," of course! (My favorite: "Unpoemed Title".... NOT IN BOOK) Ha! The Acknowledgments page actually has a measure from "not very grateful at all" to "extremely grateful." I especially like one that falls somewhere in the middle: "- That guy who told me this book would never sell. (It kind of motivated me.)"
Probably NOT surprising to regular readers of this blog, my favorite poem of the bunch is not a silly/clever one, but a lovely unexpectedly tender one I'd like to share here:
Under My Dragon's Wing
Nothing can hurt me,
Nothing can sting,
When I'm hiding under my dragon's wing.
No one can find me,
No one can fight.
Under my dragon's wing, all is all right.
I hear them outside,
Asking, "Where can she be?
Look in the car! Now look in the tree!
Check the gazebo,
Peek in the wagon.
Search everywhere - but don't bother that dragon..."
And they'd never guess
That the dragon's my friend
And I'll hide by his side till the day meets its end.
I feel all his strength
And his warmth and his guile,
And I hear them all calling for me... and I smile.
For no one says "No" here,
And no one tells lies,
And here I can dream and I'm just the right size.
I'm all that I want;
I don't need a thing,
Here at home... under my dragon's wing.
- Chris Harris
We all need a dragon's wing, don't we?
I love your review of this, Irene. Talk about sharing snippets to entice... I for sure want to read this book! The poem is a beauty! It would perfectly pair with the picture book, 'Tell Me a Dragon', by Jackie Morris.ReplyDelete
I'm sold! Had to laugh at the acknowledgments page. I wonder what's on the "not grateful at all" list?ReplyDelete
A hearty YES to dragon's wings!
This sounds like a fun book for all ages!ReplyDelete
What a lovely poem. Thanks for featuring this book -- definitely sounds like something I need to look for.ReplyDelete
I have this title on my desk at work. A non-poetry co-worker brought it to me. That says a lot! Thanks for your recommendation, too.ReplyDelete
This book has been on my list, and now it's a must, Irene. The poem is a sweet reminder that everyone does need that dragon's wing, and sometimes needs to provide one. Thanks for the great review.ReplyDelete
Linda--yes, you opened this poem up even more with your comment...we can all need and provide, both. Wow.Delete
oooooh, you sold it! Love that dragon wing poem!ReplyDelete
You always find the best books.ReplyDelete
This book sounds like such fun. "Under my Dragon's Wing" is lovely. "I'm all that I want;" If we can just find such a wing.ReplyDelete
I'm reading this one, too, & really enjoying it so far! Looking forward to finding the dragon poem!ReplyDelete
I saw Chris Harris present at NCTE. Then, of course, I bought the book. It's such a creative collection that is sure to inspire student poets. Did you know that there is no 8 in the page numbers? That follows a poem about what if there was no such thing as 8? Ha! So clever!ReplyDelete
Thanks for this excellent post, Irene. I agree that this collection defies description, and yet feels strongly related to Shel Silverstein works. It's a lengthy book, but still reads like a picture book in that Lane Smith's retro-toned and -styled images are not just spot illustrations for each poem. They form an interconnected, interactive series, with themes like the door you referenced and other concepts playing with the cheeky illustrations to create a "whole" greater than the sum of the parts. Love this book, love your choice of the Dragon Wing poem example.ReplyDelete
Just took this one out from the library, Irene. Thanks for the review (the door poem narrative thread is something I probably would not have noticed and will look for now as I read.)ReplyDelete
What a lovely, vulnerable poem. We surely all need a dragon now and then. I love your review of the clever bits. The outdex and unpoemed. I will look for this book.ReplyDelete
I'm going to love this...myabe even to the point of wishing I'd written it! (I covet the authorship of few books, but you know how there are some you think, "I could have written that if only I'd THOUGHT of it!"?)ReplyDelete
Thanks for the enticing review, Irene! Off to buy myself a large dragon.
Awww. What a lovely review, Irene, and quoted poem. It reminds just a bit of "Where the Wild Things Are."ReplyDelete
I hope everything wonderful surrounds your Christmas, Irene, so you won't need a dragon's wing! Merry Christmas to you!
I love the title of this book and now that you've shared about it I want to read it. That dragon poem is lovely. I would love a dragon to hide under.ReplyDelete
What an enticing review! All that you shared made me want to read more, more, more! I'm definitely going to check this out. Thanks!ReplyDelete
I've resisted this book. Something about the title/design of the cover put me off. But I'm convinced now. (Job well done, reviewer!) I think Poetry Friday is a dragon wing for me...ReplyDelete
Oh, Mary Lee ~ I love that Poetry Friday is a dragon wing for you. <3Delete
Oh my...those last two verses made me need to make a dash for the tissues, Irene...just lovely.ReplyDelete
This is such a fun book. Am sharing with my Poetry Rocks group tomorrow.ReplyDelete
I love the book already. Thanks for the great review. And, I so understand the fun with irreverent but the "awwwwwwww" moment of finding a tender poem in the midst of it. I think in many ways, that's what poets do. So, it's neat to see how your poetry heart shines as a reader too.ReplyDelete
What a wonderful poem, did Lane Smith illustrate it? I love his art. I also happen to love dragons, especially the ones in literature from long ago–"The Reluctant Drago," My Father's Dragon,"and the list goes on… definitely want to check this book out, thanks for sharing it with us Irene!ReplyDelete
Such a wonderful review! Thanks for sharing! :)ReplyDelete
I'm surfing around, looking for inspiration for today's poem and WAM! The dragon--and also Linda B's comment that the poem is " a sweet reminder that everyone does need that dragon's wing, and sometimes needs to provide one" is exactly the inspiration (both personal and literary) that I need today. Thank you!ReplyDelete
Looking forward to reading the book at some point. Thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete