cover image Rhyme Stew

Rhyme Stew

Roald Dahl. Viking Children's Books, $14.95 (80pp) ISBN 978-0-670-82916-3

Here are 15 less-than-clever rhyming parodies of classic children's stories and poems, including The Tortoise and the Hare , The Emp e r o r's New Clothes , Dick Whittington's Cat , Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves , Hansel and Gretel , etc. Most of Dahl's attempts at playful lasciviousness seem juvenile: ``As I was going to St. Ives / I met a man with seven wives / Said he, `I think it's much more fun / Than getting stuck with only one.' '' Several jokes fall flat on their British colloquialism: ``Hey diddle diddle / We're all on the fiddle,'' while others die of old age: ``knickers'' rhymed with ``vicar's.'' Blake, who also illustrated Dahl's Matilda , supplies messily frenzied line drawings that are far more amusing than the sophomoric verses they accompany. (Apr.)