105 Ways to Give a Book

Wacky Poetry

There’s a crocodile in the toilet
There’s a hedgehog in the sink
And that is why
The dog and I
Cannot get a drink.

Now, I made that up in the wait of one stoplight. One looong stoplight, but still. And that’s why I don’t get these books of wacky poetry for children. If I can toss off one poem in four minutes, then why do I need a book of them?

Flamingos in the SinkThat belief was not challenged by Flamingos on the Roof, by Calef Brown. Didn’t like the poems. Didn’t like the pictures. Here’s one of his:
Ray built a house on his nose.
Just for a lark, I suppose.
The lark is content there.
It even pays rent there.
and shovels the stoop when it snows.
Is it better than mine? Probably. That much better? I don’t know.

I do like Shel Silverstein, because he’s the original. It’s like the One Red Paperclip guy. It was a stroke of genius — and incredible luck — to start with a red paper clip and trade up to a house within a year. It ticks me off not to have thought of such a thing, but I give the man credit. He’s got a book and movie deal, besides the house itself. But the next guy to try and trade... I don’t know, a push pin, isn’t going to get nearly the attention. It’s not that the idea is so perfect. It’s being the first one to do it that matters.

So while Shel Silverstein will go down in literature history for his poetry, we won’t see much of the later additions to this sub-genre. Okay, maybe Prelutsky. But Calef Brown? I don’t know.

All that said, if you like silly poems and bright, odd pictures — and lots of kids do — this will be a fun book. Personally, I wouldn’t give a red paper clip for it.

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