cover image Nothing Rhymes with Orange

Nothing Rhymes with Orange

Adam Rex. Chronicle, $16.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4521-5443-5

Rex (XO, OX: A Love Story) takes the conventional wisdom of the title and runs with it. He paints hands, feet, and antic cartoon faces on photos of fruit, sets them against brown-paper-bag backgrounds, then imagines them improvising a bunch of Burma Shave–style jingles in praise of fruit. An apple and a pear begin (“Who wouldn’t travel anywhere/ to get an apple or a pear?”), and a lonely orange watches the fun from the sidelines: “I’ll be back here if you need me,” it mutters. The rhymes grow ever more outrageous (“a lychee is just peachy./ Thus Spoke Zarathustra is a book by Friedrich Nietzsche”) and the mayhem snowballs. Off in his corner, the orange seethes, especially after a pear bitten by a wolf becomes a pearwolf (“This book’s sorta gone off the rails,” it grumps). A big fruit party ensues (Nietzsche is there, so are yams for some reason), and the group finally acknowledges the orange with a rhyme all its own, nonsensical though it may be. A sly concept, deft artwork, and unflagging energy make this a winner. Ages 5–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)