"Not in a box.
Not with a fox.
Not in a house.
Not with a mouse.
I would not eat them here or there.
I would not eat them anywhere.
I would not eat green eggs and ham.
I do not like them, Sam-I-am."
-- Dr. Seuss (1960)
According to a 2001 article in Publisher's Weekly, GREEN EGGS AND HAM is
the number-four all-time best-selling children's book. While that didn't
surprise me, I was actually a bit surprised to learn from the article that it
is Dr. Seuss's biggest seller, several places ahead of THE CAT IN THE HAT
on the list.
To note that Dr. Seuss holds six of the top twenty spots on that list of
all-time best-selling children's books is to recognize that growing up with
Dr. Seuss is a relatively universal experience in mainstream America.
Therefore, given the good Doctor's immortality and hefty, never-ending sales
numbers, it is not surprising that many an aspiring children's author will
seek to strike gold by writing a rhyming picture book.
In my opinion, far too many rhyming picture books make their way into
print. I encounter so many of them that do not roll off the tongue
effortlessly in the manner of Sam-I-am or of faithful Horton. Encountering scores and
scores of rhyming picture books over the years, including so many that just
don't make the grade, has caused me to approach them skeptically,
cautiously, with a bit of trepidation.
But I also have the great memories of leading a couple of circle times
every day during my many years at the childcare center. And my take-away from
those years is that there is nothing better than an absolutely killer
rhyming picture book to make for a great read-aloud circle time experience.
This morning, I found one of this kind. The great ones.
"Feathers would flit! Feathers would float!
Feathers would wake up a sound-asleep goat.
The goat would get mad and throw handfuls of dough,
interrupting a tap-dancing singing pig show.
The pigs, quite surprised at this turn of events,
would scamper and squeal and knock over a fence.
The fence would crash into an all-duck jazz band.
And this is where things would get way out of hand."
Lots of action, serious mayhem, and a great rhythm, are brought together
here with equally exciting artwork by a veteran illustrator at the top of
In A MOOSE THAT SAYS MOOOOOOOOO, a girl who has been out in her expansive
back yard, reading picture books, working in her toy kitchen, playing with
plastic animals, and hanging with the family dog in the tall grass,
imagines their back yard transformed into a zoo-full of animal misbehavior.
"The goose would spill juice.
The snakes would all yelp.
The cheetah would pick up the phone and say, 'Help!'
Otters would oink!
Chipmunks would chirp!
Rabbits would ribbet and hiccup and burp!
The turtle would trip and land in a pie,
while trying to calm a hysterical fly."
I keep going back and looking at the illustrations that are so full of
action and great detail: of the night scenes with the pigs in bowties hoofing
it on a bench, and the many animals in their blue-and-white night shirts;
then the jazz band with the duck percussionist knocked on his butt, his
wings over his eyes, as we see before him the south end of a pig sticking out
of what had been his bass drum. The expression on the cheetah on the phone.
The action sequence of the turtle becoming airborne and heading for the
pie. One after the other, the ink-and-watercolor spreads here are really
notable, exciting, and memorable.
This one made my morning.
- Recommended by: Richie Partington, MLIS, Librarian, California USA
Richie's Picks _http://richiespicks.com_