H T Orangutan Tongs. By Jon Agee. Illus.
by the author. 2009. Hyperion, $16.99
(9781423103158). Gr. 1–4.
These inventive and zany tongue twisters will get kids reading (and laughing)
out loud. Agee’s boldly outlined cartoon
illustrations have a spare, minimal style
that serves as a gleefully deadpan counterpoint to the poems’ absurd scenarios.
Orangutanka. By Margarita Engle. Illus.
by Renee Kurilla. 2015. Holt, $17.99
(9780805098396). PreS–Gr. 1.
Cleverly combining poetry with scientific information, Engle’s modern tanka
poems express humor and energy. The
orangutans’ antics are depicted in hilarious illustrations, and the poetic rhythms
may inspire children to get up and “
Outside the Box. By Karma Wilson.
Illus. by Diane Goode. 2014. Simon &
Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry, $17.99
(9781416980056). Gr. 3–6.
Familiar objects and situations are given
a sideways tweak in these poems that subvert expectations. Their mixture of wry
observation and kooky supposition recalls
Shel Silverstein, a feel amplified by the
Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles. By Douglas
Florian. Illus. by the author. 2014. Dial,
$16.99 (9780803740426). Gr. 3–6.
This generous compendium of light,
clever verse is loosely arranged into titled
chapters, such as “Wit and Whimsy” and
“Rib-Ticklers and Sidesplitters.” Florian’s
drawings ramp up the verbal humor and
wordplay without overwhelming the text.
Science Verse. By Jon Scieszka. Illus.
by Lane Smith. 2004. Viking, $16.99
(9780670910571). Gr. 3–5.
An unfortunate student is stricken with
the “curse of science verse,” which converts his thoughts into rhyming parodies
of famous poems and songs. Ably juggling
facts, meter, and rhyme schemes, the verse
proves intelligent, irreverent, inviting, and
Uh-Oh! By Alan Katz. Illus. by Edward
Koren. 2011. Simon & Schuster/Margaret
K. McElderry, $18.99 (9781416935186).
The creators of Oops! (2008) offer another poetry collection for grade-schoolers
and their families to read aloud. Filled
with puns and rhymes, the verse blends
the silly and the gross, and Koren’s mischievous drawings extend the wordplay.
Goose, and popular folklore. Wild line
cartoons and a subversive, cranky tone
add to the off-kilter humor.
Hypnotize a Tiger: Poems about Just
about Everything. By Calef Brown.
Illus. by the author. 2015. Holt, $17.99
(9780805099287). Gr. 2–5.
Silliness abounds in Brown’s collection of nonsense poems, each paired
with a cartoonish illustration that hints
at the meaning. Wordplay and a host of
chuckle-worthy topics make for a fun
I’ve Lost My Hippopotamus.
By Jack Prelutsky. Illus. by Jackie
Urbanovic. 2012. Greenwillow, $18.99
(9780062014573). Gr. 2–4.
Prelutsky presents more than 100
humorous poems, in a variety of
forms and styles, squarely aimed at the
elementary-school funny bone. Urbanovic’s cartoony black-and-white line
drawings reinforce the plethora of poetic puns.
Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs. By J.
Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen. Illus.
by Jeffrey Stewart Timmins. 2012.
Charlesbridge, $16.95 (9781580892605).
Here’s a collection for the morbidly
inclined. Lewis and Yolen present the
grim demises of 30 unlucky animals in
delightfully morose rhyme, made all the
more delectable by Timmins’ macabre
illustrations. Not for the squeamish, this
is gallows humor at its finest.
Maybe I’ll Sleep in the Bathtub Tonight
and Other Funny Bedtime Poems.
By Debbie Levy. Illus. by Stephanie
Buscema. 2010. Sterling, $14.95
(9781402749445). PreS–Gr. 2.
Wordplay is the name of the game in
this cozy collection of bedtime rhymes.
Literal (mis)interpretations worthy of
Amelia Bedelia, gross-out humor, and
nursery rhyme twists will send little
ones to slumberland with smiles on
Ode to a Commode: Concrete Poems.
By Brian P. Cleary. Illus. by Andy
Rowland. 2014. Millbrook, $26.60
(9781467720458). Gr. 1–4.
Cleary’s collection of concrete poems
range between quietly clever to laugh-out-loud funny. Children will love turning
the book from side to side to read verses
twisting around the page. Short and fun,
these poems are sure to charm.