cover image Odd Owls & Stout Pigs: A Book of Nonsense

Odd Owls & Stout Pigs: A Book of Nonsense

Arnold Lobel, , color by Adrianne Lobel. . Harper, $15.99 (31pp) ISBN 978-0-06-180054-2

Adrianne Lobel has retrieved another one of her Caldecott Medalist father's handmade gift books from obscurity (this one had been in storage for 40 years). But it is not nearly as inspired as last season's The Frogs and Toads All Sang , which shared a similar back story. The poems—rhymed couplets about a variety of owls, followed by limericks about pigs—tend to be literal and light on wordplay. Rhyming words are often repeated (“There was a small pig with a tail./ Not curly but straight as a nail./ So she ate simply oodles/ Of pretzels and noodles,/ Which put a nice twist to her tail”), and variations on a closing line in the owl poems (one tosses cakes in the air because “He likes the mess it makes,” while another gulps down 10 milkshakes because “He likes the slurp it makes”) contribute to a sense of sameness that creeps in after a few pages. The images of the owls and pigs, however, have glimmers of Lobel quirkiness, and Adrianne Lobel's cheery pastel coloring heightens the gentle comedy. But the individual pleasures to be had are rather mild. Ages 4–7. (Nov.)