cover image Hippopotamus Stew: And Other Silly Animal Poems

Hippopotamus Stew: And Other Silly Animal Poems

Joan Horton, , illus. by JoAnn Adinolfi. . Holt, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-7350-8

Like Jack Prelutsky, Horton (Halloween Hoots and Howls ) excels at rhyming silliness. In this collection of animal poems, a beaver wears braces, a snake wishes its old skin were attached with a convenient zipper, and a chameleon wakes from a nightmare in which the world has turned plaid. While Horton's conceits often seem somewhat familiar, she zeroes in on the kind of humor that will appeal to her target audience. After Old MacDonald's Billy Goat chomps down such things as "A spade, a hoe, a wooden rake,/ A buzzing fly, for goodness' sake," he chows down on "Big Mac" himself for lunch. Adinolfi's mixed-media illustrations are bright and full of action, but sometimes the additional details included in the collages seem to compete for attention with the text. Adinolfi's textured papers and designs often lend artistic interest to the page, but curlicues and shapes can make the illustration difficult to decipher. Youngsters will grin at characters such as a penguin who marches to his own beat, decked out in plaid pants and a flowered vest (applied in collage fabrics), or the male porcupine who snuggles up to his sweetheart's "sharp prickly spine" and says, "Tell me you love me—eow! —say it's true,/ Because I am hopelessly stuck on—ow! —you." Ages 4-7. (Apr.)