cover image THE PAPER DOORWAY: Funny Verse and Nothing Worse

THE PAPER DOORWAY: Funny Verse and Nothing Worse

Dean R. Koontz, , illus. by Phil Parks. . HarperCollins, $17.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-06-029488-5

Bestselling novelist Koontz rejoins his collaborator on Santa's Twin for this uneven roundup of poems whose humor sometimes misses the mark. All poems are narrated in the first-person; Parks portrays both boy and girl narrators. Among the most clever entries is the title poem, in which the narrator tells of losing himself—literally—in a book: "The book fell shut while I was inside/ And I escaped the things I can't abide:/ Doctors and dentists, lima beans and school,/ Homework, neckties, piano lessons, rules." In another winner, "The Monstrous Broccoli Excuse," the narrator insists that his or her dislike of this vegetable is mutual, explaining that the broccoli escapes from the fridge at night and slithers under the bed: "Oh, Mom, how can I eat, you see,/ A fearsome food that would eat me?" Some of Koontz's nonsense verse falls flat, as in the following brief ditty, "A Beverage with Antlers": "I like the taste of orange juice./ And I like the look of a moose./ However, I don't like moose juice,/ Nor do I want an orange moose." Often serving up surrealistic images, Parks's half-tone art echoes the hyperbole and whimsy of the verse, which Koontz's fans will likely pick up for their progeny. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)