cover image The Best of Michael Rosen

The Best of Michael Rosen

. RDR Books, $16.95 (120pp) ISBN 978-1-57143-046-5

Although both author and illustrator have been honored in Britain for their work for children, this all-new collection is a long way from the best work of either. Rosen's (We're Going on a Bear Hunt) free-verse poems range from nonsense rhymes (``Tiffy taffy toffee/ on the flee flo floor... Kiffy kaffy coffee/ in a mig mag mug'') to prosy, four- or five-page monologues with nary an image. In ``The Field Trip,'' for example, the narrator/teacher scolds, ``All right/ as you know/ it was our plan to go out today-/ to the Science Museum... I saw that, Mark,/ I saw it./ Any more and you'll be out./ No trip, nothing.'' The so-called illustrations consist of a single monochrome drawing that is used as a border on every page; while the border design is detailed, the cumulative effect is numbing, as if the poems had been printed on a stack of stationery. All ages. (Dec.)