cover image Laugh-Eteria


Douglas Florian. Harcourt Children's Books, $17 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-15-202084-2

""The poems in this book/ Are meant to be humorous./ If they are not,/ Please laugh just to humor us."" Kids won't have to force their laughter while reading Florian's (Insectlopedia) pithy verses. They poke fun at the everyday (""Our school lunch is from outer space,/ Endangering the human race"") and the imaginary (""Hello, my name is Dracula./ My clothing is all blackula./... /At dawn I hit the sackula./ Tomorrow I'll be backula!""). Florian repeatedly shows that he knows what makes kids giggle. Some entries are mildly risqu , as in ""Brush Rush"" (""Brush your teeth./ Brush your hair./ Brush your brother's underwear./ Your teeth are green./ Your hair is blue./ Your brother's underwear--P.U.!""). Others favor clever, euphonious wordplay, as in ""Batty"": ""The pitcher pitched a pitcher./ The batter batted a bat./ The shortstop stopped up short to see/ The catcher catch a cat."" The line drawings, however, aren't as pleasing as Florian's paintings elsewhere. Rendered with a brush, they have a rough, doodle-like quality, and only rarely expand on the imagery so punchily served up in the text. Ages 6-up. (Apr.)