Bergers Book Reviews

Silly Shoes: Poems to Make You Smile

Silly ShoesAuthor: Lawson Gow
Illustrator: Mike Guillory
Publisher: Bright Sky Press
Genre: Children / Poetry
ISBN: 978-1-939055-81-1
Pages: 28
Price: $19.95

Author’s website
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The world it too serious, so why not put on your silly shoes and have some fun! In this book of children’s poems, Lawson Gow creates some wacky scenarios to make kids laugh.

Would you like to eat a meal of colors? Or how about expression fruit salad? Have you ever thought about befriending your chocolate bunny? Or eating a sneeze sandwich? Bowling with Superman? Or living in backwards land?

These and other zany poems in Silly Shoes are guaranteed to chase away the gloomies and bring out a chuckle on the rainiest of days. Kids will love the far-out humor.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 20, 2016 Posted by | children, poetry | Leave a comment

Mooseclumps

Mooseclumps
Author & Illustrator: Ryan T. Bliss
Publisher: Artsy Bee
Genre: Children / Poetry
ISBN: 978-0-615-75521-2
Pages: 58
Price: $15.99

Author’s website
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Poetry haters should not read this book. If you’re determined to never smile, laugh, or enjoy poetry, Mooseclumps is definitely not right for you. In fact, you can stop reading this review right now.

But if you think you just might enjoy a rhyme or two, you’re sure to giggle over the clever verses in this entertaining work. Poetry mingles with creative illustrations for a perfectly enjoyable kids’ book. I highly recommend Mooseclumps.

2013 Moonbeams Children’s Poetry Gold Medal Winner
2013 Readers’ Favorite Children’s Book Silver Medal Winner

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 22, 2014 Posted by | children, poetry | Leave a comment

Mister Lemur’s Train of Thought


Author & Illustrator: Mister Lemur
Publisher: Ringtail Learning
Genre: Children / Poetry
ISBN: 978-0-9828866-0-1
Pages: 151
Price: $17.95

Author’s website
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Have you ever been to a petting zoo? Ah, but sometimes the animals have other ideas about what that concept could be. And what might happen if General Jack stepped on a tack? A tack you say? Well, that’s not quite what Hard of Hearing Harry heard.

In these clever rhymes, Mister Lemur takes somewhat ordinary situations and turns them around with a neat twist. Surprise endings keep the reader interested to see how things finally turn out. Dogs don’t normally play baseball, mice aren’t encouraged to hang out as house guests, and genies don’t grant unusual wishes without problems following soon after.

Mister Lemur’s quirky sense of humor and ability to see beyond the obvious keep kids guessing, while stretching their imaginations in a fun way. And the cute line-drawing illustrations artfully enhance these mind-bending poems. Kids of all ages (as well as adults) will love Mister Lemur and his amazing creativity.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 17, 2011 Posted by | children, poetry | Leave a comment

Tim and Sally’s Year In Poems


Author: Grady Thrasher
Illustrator: Elaine Hearn Rabon
Publisher: Jonquil Books
Genre: Children / Poetry
ISBN: 978-0-9827614-0-3
Pages: 56
Price: $18.95

Author’s website
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Tim and Sally offer us a gentle adventure in poetry that spans the course of a year. Visiting the seasons and the holidays, they share the wonders of life on the farm. Butterflies, sparrows and bunnies frolic in spring flowers. School’s out for the summer, heralding watermelon, forts, and fireworks. Then it’s back to school, bright fall foliage, pumpkins, and crisp, clean air. Finally, winter snowmen, sleds, and Christmas round out the year.

Grady Thrasher’s use of language is evocative of his own childhood memories, as well as the ones he hopes kids will share with him. His poetry is lilting and lively, with good use of rhyme. And the charming and nostalgic watercolor illustrations by Elaine Hearn Rabon bring this journey through the seasons to life.

Tim and Sally’s Year in Poems received a 2010 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award “celebrating youthful curiosity, discovery and learning through books and reading.” This beautiful book reminds us of a simpler time when seasonal pleasures brought so much joy. Share it with your grandkids and reminisce.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 15, 2011 Posted by | children, poetry | Leave a comment

The Clumsy Stork


Author: Celina Penovi
Illustrator: Lucas Penovi Orjales
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Genre: Children / Bilingual
ISBN: 978-1-4490-2746-9
Pages: 32
Price: $17.50

Author’s website
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The stork has stayed out too late partying, but duty calls and he must bring three babies to their new homes. So he gets ready to go out and makes his first two stops. But then he rationalizes he has only one more baby to drop off and he has all day to do it. When he naps longer than he wants to, he suddenly has to rush to deliver his last little bundle of joy.

The Clumsy Stork is written in rhyme, in both Spanish and English. My high school Spanish is rusty at best, so I am not able to comment on how well it’s written, but it’s clear from the English section that Spanish is the author’s first language. Some of the phrases are “backwards” from an English speaker’s perspective, such as “a trip really long.” And the wording is awkward, in trying to force rhymes where they may not be any.

The illustrations are amusing, and the premise of a stork nearly missing his delivery is humorous. Kids will probably laugh at his near-disaster, knowing it would have been prevented if he hadn’t dawdled. And if they read along with the language that’s foreign to them, they’ll get to learn something new.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 22, 2010 Posted by | bilingual, children, poetry | Leave a comment

Scrambled Breakfast


Author: Celina Penovi
Illustrator: Dario Salvi
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Genre: Children / Spanish bilingual
ISBN: 978-1-4490-2743-8
Pages: 20
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
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The breakfast table is set and waiting. But what happens when the fork insults the napkin? In his haste to retaliate, the napkin misses hitting the fork, and this triggers a series of events that lead to quite a mess!

In Scrambled Breakfast, Celina Penovi tells this morning tale in rhyme in both Spanish and English. I can’t say if the Spanish version of the rhyme works well, since I have a very limited vocabulary in that language. The English version is amusing, although sometimes the rhyme is a little confusing. But the general premise of the story comes through clearly and is enjoyable to read.

Dario Salvi has done a wonderful job of illustrating this breakfast scene. These food items and silverware have expressive faces, and their actions come to life on the page in a fun way. Kids will enjoy the idea of these inanimate objects getting caught up in a morning squabble. And if they read along with the language that’s foreign to them, they’ll get to learn something new.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 13, 2010 Posted by | bilingual, children, humor, poetry | Leave a comment

On the Edge With Coolhead Luke


Author: Jennifer White
Illustrator: Colin White
Publisher: BookSurge Publishing
Genre: Poetry / Humor
ISBN: 978-1-4392-5983-2
Pages: 58
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
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What do you get when you team up a son who likes to draw faces with a mom who’s a whiz at poetry? On the Edge With Coolhead Luke, which combines the best of both.

When Jennifer White saw her son’s drawings, they sparked the idea to work on a book together. She then matched her own poetry to the faces with surprising results. In this sequel to Coolhead Luke, patrons visit a restaurant with an operatic chef, the Metta Four sisters share a lesson, and Uncle Marvin presents a Thanksgiving feast fit for a king.

Most of these poems are written in some form of rhythmic meter, with some more unusual styles thrown in for fun. There is a glossary of terms included, as well as discussion questions about the overall messages and styles of verse.

These are fun and well-written poems, with quirky and unique drawings accompanying them. I admire what Jennifer White and her son, Colin, have achieved in On the Edge With Coolhead Luke. Not only have they created interesting works of literature, but they’ve also nurtured the creative bond between them. Now that’s about as cool as it gets!

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 1, 2010 Posted by | humor, poetry | Leave a comment

Coolhead Luke


Author: Jennifer White
Illustrator: Colin White
Publisher: BookSurge Publishing
Genre: Poetry / Humor
ISBN: 9781419661624
Pages: 54
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

What do you get when you team up a son who likes to draw faces with a mom who’s a whiz at poetry? Coolhead Luke, which combines the best of both.

When Jennifer White saw her son’s drawings, they sparked the idea to work on a book together. She then matched her own poetry to the faces with surprising results. A big nose on a pedestal is Ebenezer Nooze. Chef Mahoney has only some macaroni, but he needs to make up some Beef Bourguignoney – and that’s no baloney! And the Freaky Bus full of strange passengers rides out every day at nine o’clock.

Most of these poems are written in some form of rhythmic meter, with some more unusual styles thrown in for fun. There is a glossary of terms included, as well as discussion questions about the overall messages and styles of verse.

These are fun and well-written poems, with quirky and unique drawings accompanying them. I admire what Jennifer White and her son, Colin, have achieved in Coolhead Luke. Not only have they created an interesting work of literature, but they’ve also nurtured the creative bond between them. Now that’s about as cool as it gets!

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 3, 2010 Posted by | humor, poetry | Leave a comment

Galaxy Pizza and Meteor Pie


Author: Darren Sardelli
Illustrator: Pam Catapano
Publisher: Laugh-a-Lot Books
Genre: Children / Poetry
ISBN: 978-0-615-28469-9
Pages: 30
Price: $12.95

Author’s website

Could your school day be brightened with a hearty laugh? Maybe you’d like to be served Nebula Nachos and Asteroid Chips by the lunch ladies from Mars. Or listen to your teacher punish the tires on a bus. If that doesn’t help, you can always dream about endless recess.

In Galaxy Pizza and Meteor Pie, Darren Sardelli has put together one of the funniest collections of poetry I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading — all about our days in school. Illustrated in bright, comic pastels by Pat Catapano, these silly poems could make even the meanest teacher grin.

This collection is schoolroom humor at its best. When it seems as if the homework will never end, and you’re sure you’ve just flunked your most important test, these cheery poems will be sure to pick you up. This book is a fun addition to any classroom, library or personal collection.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

April 29, 2010 Posted by | children, poetry | Leave a comment

Sail Away With Me


Author: Jane Collins-Philippe
Illustrator: Laura Beingessner
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: Children / Poetry
ISBN: 978-0-88776-842-2
Pages: 32
Price: $15.95

Buy it at Amazon

The lure of the sea calls to young and old with its many tales of adventure. In Sail Away With Me, Jane Collins-Philippe has collected many of our favorite poems about the sea, as well as creating some new ones of her own.

Timeless classics like “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,” “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean,” and “The Owl and the Pussycat” are featured. And kids will also enjoy new poems like “The Good Ship Royal” about a ship with a crew of animals, and “Mary Goes to Sea” about a woman determined to find a space on a crowded boat.

Illustrations by Laura Beingessner enhance these poems, bringing to mind delightful summer afternoons and evenings by the shore. Whether you’re a landlubber or an old salt, you’re sure to enjoy this book of sea poetry.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 31, 2010 Posted by | children, poetry | Leave a comment