cover image Bing Bang Boing

Bing Bang Boing

Douglas Florian. Harcourt Children's Books, $17 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-15-233770-4

Florian's (Beast Feast) collection of light verse is sometimes clever, sometimes silly-and almost always off the wall. He introduces a man who ``stayed in bed/ Till mushrooms sprouted from his head''; an aunt who ``grew auntlers overnight''; and the woman from Boise whose sneakers were so ``squeaky and noisy'' that ``she set them to boil/ in sunflower oil,/ Then she jogged all the way to New Joisy.'' The jocular tone occasionally falls flat, but there are plenty of deliciously gross poems with advice about not eating caterpillars (because ``that will only make you iller'') or about navigating the school cafeteria (where ``the mere thought of lunch/ Makes [your] stomach scrunch''). The black-and-white cartoon drawings, the format and the trim size clearly recall Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends and Jack Prelutsky's Something BIG Has Been Here. Though Florian's verses are generally more interesting than his thick line art, he is right on target with elementary school humor, whether penning paeans to smelly socks or waxing rhapsodic about beetles for breakfast. Ages 6-up. (Nov.)