cover image The Bookworm's Feast

The Bookworm's Feast

J. Patrick Lewis. Dial Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1692-6

With an irreverence suggestive of Ogden Nash and the silliness of Jack Prelutsky, Lewis and O'Brien whip up a whimsical confection of poems and drawings in a format just as enjoyable as the poems themselves. A ""Gentleman Bookworm"" invites his friends to a feast of "" `ridiculous rhyme!/ But might I suggest?'/ Said the host to the guest,/ `Chew them slowly. One line at a time!' "" Arrayed in chapters called ""Appetizers,"" ""Sherbets"" and so on, the nonsense verses will keep young readers happily munching all the way to ""Delectable Desserts."" As varied in form as limericks and autograph verses, only some of Lewis's (A Hippopotamusn't) poems deal with eating (to wit, ""In Oneida, New York,/ Live a Knife and a Fork/ And a pip of a Tablespoon.../ the Tablespoon gallops/ Around with the scallops,/ And cries, `Hi-ho, Silver! Away!' ""). Other rhymes are sprinkled liberally with advice, as in ""What to Wear Where"" (""Now that we're living/ It up in Vermont,/ We wear pretty much/ Whatever we want""). As if this linguistically piquant dinner were not enough, O'Brien's (The Reptile Ball) illustrations are simply delicious. Clever and funny, his exuberantly cross-hatched pen and watercolor drawings provide humor on every page. Don't forget to sample the cheerful Hippopotamole making ""mountains out of molehills,"" or the postcard frog snagging a stamp with his tongue. A five-star feast. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)