Thursday, May 28, 2009

Orangutan Tongs by Jon Agee - review

Orangutan Tongs by Jon Agee
You know, I claim to not like poetry. In fact, I claim to have a vicious poetry allergy - this gets me out of poetry night at school and my friends' readings, including the dreaded Open Mic part of the evening. It is this allergy, paradoxically, that I think makes me extra qualified to review poetry books for children.

You see, I have observed that most kids require their poetry to work. If it's supposed to rhyme, it has to rhyme. The meter should march. You shouldn't have to rearrange where in a line you think the natural stress should fall in order to make the line come out even at the end. You should not (John Lennon) throw extra syllables in there just because you like them. "Klutzy" does not make it, in poetry for small(ish) children.

And this is why I can read four lines like "Undies" without my throat closing up and my eyes crossing.

There are lots of holes in Andy Bundy's undies.
His mom should get some thread and try to stitch 'em.
When Andy's at the beach, he's always cranky and upset,
'Cause Andy Bundy's sandy undies itch him.

(Of course, if you can work underpants into a poem, even better.)

I heard my 2nd grader reading this book aloud to his kindergarten brother, and they were beside themselves giggling. Later, in the car, they tried making up their own tongue twisters. I'd call Orangutan Tongs a must-have for the school library on that basis alone.

1 comment:

Peacefull Reader said...

I just unpacked this book from my last box of new books for the year!! Glad to hear it is so funny!!