There Was a Man Who Loved a Rat: And Other Vile Little Poems

Marcia Preston, Author . Mira $14.99 (361p) ISBN 978-0-7783-2533-8

A smart, modern design sets off the mischievous humor of this square-format book of 14 illustrated nonsense rhymes. Gerda Rovetch, an octogenarian who fled Germany in childhood and is publishing her poems for the first time, brings a recognizably European dark wit to her four-line entries: “There was a man who loved a rat./ He fed it ham till it got fat./ He kept it in his bed at night,/ and rather hoped it wouldn't bite.” Lissa Rovetch (the Hot Dog and Bob books) matches the exaggeration in her mother's work with her black ink cartoons: shown in profile, the rat lover's nose is half the width of his head. Meanwhile his lower lip seems to tremble as he gazes at the rat, whose carrot-shaped head attaches to a huge, turnip-like torso. Color and scale play leading roles: the illustrator accents one item in each drawing with a different solid color (the rat is orange, in a characteristically sophisticated shade). On every spread, poem and illustration face each other, each set in identically sized white circles that cover most of the square pages. Strategic use of complementary colors makes the contents pop (the circles for the rat lover are bordered in teal, on lemon background). Good and gleeful. Ages 4-up. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 03/03/2008
Release date: 03/01/2008
Show other formats
Open Ebook - 978-1-4268-1343-6
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-283-69133-8
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4592-4824-3
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