cover image Hard-Boiled Bugs for Breakfast and Other Tasty Poems

Hard-Boiled Bugs for Breakfast and Other Tasty Poems

Jack Prelutsky, illus. by Ruth Chan. Greenwillow, $18.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-06301-913-3

U.S. children’s poet laureate emeritus Prelutsky delivers his signature silliness and wordplay in this collection of 100 poems marked by the strong kid appeal and energetic pace that makes the prolific poet’s work immediately recognizable. Prelutsky is reliably playful, whether he’s describing disgusting food choices, as in the title poem (“Hard boiled bugs are tastier/ than spiders, flies, or slugs”); expressing schoolchildren’s universal wish (skipping school) in “I’ve Got a Cold,” which calls to mind Shel Silverstein’s “Sick”; or making up creatures such as “The Bumblebeet” (which “surely is not good to eat”). He occasionally interrupts the goofiness with a gentler poem, such as the cleverly rhymed “The Leaves Are Drifting” and “We Are the Oceans,” which provides a rare serious note, paying homage to the interconnectedness of Earth’s denizens. With their rhythmic meter, easy rhymes, and offbeat punch lines, these are poems that beg to be memorized. Lively black-and-white drawings (one for a poem entitled “My Nose” depicts a foot in place of the orifice) by Chan (The Great Indoors) are perfectly in pitch with the droll verse. Ages 8–up. (Jan.)