cover image Riddle-Lightful: Oodles of Little Riddle Poems

Riddle-Lightful: Oodles of Little Riddle Poems

J. Patrick Lewis, Patrick J. Lewis. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $17 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-679-88760-7

This follow-up to Riddle-icious offers another humorous collection of simple riddles with clues that swing from cinches to head-scratchers. Tilley illustrates each of Lewis's 32 succinct riddles using familiar objects and scenes (a barber shop, bathtub, symphony, school bus), though some of her depictions are more successfully integrated than others. ""First you focus then you squeeze to snap a shot of a ham and... CHEESE!!"" introduces the picture of a smiling cow and pig posing dead center in the viewfinder, offering a readily visible answer (""camera""). Another more sophisticated puzzle asserts, ""The seven strings above my head/ Can wake me up, put me to bed,"" while two flies on strings pulled by a hovering spider dance onstage. The text might make it clear that ""marionette"" is the answer, but it will take more experienced riddlers to recognize the subtle play on flies as puppets on the spider's webbed strings. Overall, the illustrations are inventive: a floating upside-down pear pulling a basket of fruit depicts a ""hot-air balloon""; a pig flying over a sports field acts as a ""football."" Readers hold up the word (or words), written at the bottom of each page, to a mirror for the answer. Young wits will congratulate themselves when they figure out the answers to these clever brainteasers. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)