cover image Hypnotize a Tiger: Poems About Just About Everything

Hypnotize a Tiger: Poems About Just About Everything

Calef Brown. Holt/Ottaviano, $17.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9928-7

Brown writes and illustrates playfully matter-of-fact poems that feature peculiar animals, creatures, and humans, drawn with chalky outlines and expressive eyes. Categories of poems include “The Critterverse,” “Schoolishness,” and “Word Crashes,” a section featuring nouveau portmanteau words (“This Grouchyoungorilla/ hasn’t gotten very far./ Some thoughtless thug/ has just unplugged/ his nicelectricar”). Beneath the framed central images, Brown doesn’t let the bottom edge of the pages go to waste, filling them with mini-scenes and jokes connected to the poems above. Full of absurdity and off-kilter musings (“I think I need a forklift/ to lift my backpack./ So many textbooks/ in my knapsack,/ I fear a back-snap”), Brown’s collection offers a zingy introduction to the silly side of poetry. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Mar.)