cover image Oops!


Alan Katz, , illus. by Edward Koren. . S&S/McElderry, $17.99 (176pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-0204-1

Like Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein, Katz (Take Me Out of the Bathtub ) revels in the kind of schoolyard humor and wordplay relished by his target audience. These 100 light verses contain references to stale gum, troublesome siblings, outwitted parents, dirty underwear, farting in church, belly buttons and enough smelly things to make a fourth-grade boy laugh out loud in the library. Although the meter frequently stumbles, the topics are quirky (“I’m writing a love song to eggs./ They don’t have eyes,/ they don’t have legs./ They cannot sing,/ they cannot dance. / You cannot keep them / in your pants./ But they’re my friends...”). They’re often contemporary, too, as in a poem that begins, “I put my brother on eBay,/ but nobody made a bid.” Koren (Very Hairy Harry ), well known as a New Yorker cartoonist, amplifies the humor with droll b&w drawings in his distinctive, antically cross-hatched style. Perhaps the best section of all is in prose, consisting of 30 free-form “special bonus pages!!” called “Oops! There’s More.” Here Katz offers some of the funniest jokes in the book along with a mélange of digressions about his grade school career, advice for young writers and a tongue-in-cheek promotion for Uh-Oh , this book’s sequel. Ages 7-10. (Mar.)