Kids books full of wordplay

  • Sun May 9th, 2010 8:00pm
  • Life

By Karen Macpherson Scripps Howard News Service

“Poetrees” by Douglas Florian, for ages 7 to 12, $16.99

Just the title of this new book is enough to tell you that poet-artist Douglas Florian loves to play with words. Florian focuses his wordplay on varieties of trees, from such stalwarts as oaks to exotics like dragon trees. Each tree rates its own poem, and Florian extends the fun in his arresting illustrations, created from gouache, watercolor, colored paints, rubber stamps, oil pastel and collage on brown paper bags. Best of all, the book opens vertically as a way to emphasize the majesty of all these “poetrees.”

“Mirror Mirror” by Marilyn Singer, for ages 7 to 12, $16.99

Poet Marilyn Singer’s clever new poetry collection offers readers a look at “reversible verse.” Each poem has two ways it can be read — first, the lines are read top to bottom, and then from bottom to top. Here’s an example:

“Isn’t

this

a fairy tale?

A fairy tale

This

Isn’t.”

The colorful illustrations by Josee Masse add further panache to Singer’s intriguing collection.

“Maybe I’ll Sleep in the Bathtub Tonight” by Debbie Levy, for ages 5 to 8, $14.95

“Someone Used My Toothbrush!” by Carol Diggory Shields, for ages 5 to 8, $16.99

Bedtime and bathrooms are the focus of two entertaining new collections of poetry. In “Bathtub,” poet Debbie Levy brings a light touch to the bedtime ritual, giving a wonderfully comical makeover, for example, to the rather grim lullaby “Rock-A-Bye Baby.” Stephanie Buscema’s retro illustrations brighten the pages.

In “Someone Used My Toothbrush!” poet Carol Diggory Shields writes humorously about such bathroom items as toilet paper and the medicine cabinet, all pictured in amusing detail by artist Paul Meisel.