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?