I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups
Written by Chris Harris
Illustrated by Lane Smith
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 192 pages
Let me start out by saying that I am someone who loves poetry. However, I’m sort of picky about what I enjoy, especially when it comes to humorous poetry. It often falls short for me, but I loved this collection of funny and I have to say, sometimes even fall out of your chair laughing poems written by Chris Harris. The illustrations by Lane Smith who’s an award winning machine for his illustrations in books like “Grandpa Green” and “The Stinky Cheese Man” are silly, hilarious and compliment Chris Harris’ poems extremely well. These guys make a good team, and I hope we see more work from the two of them together in the future.
The author, the illustrator, and even the illustrator’s wife prove on the dedication page of “I’m Just No Good at Rhyming” just how funny and clever the rest of the book is going to be. The laughs continue through to the very end of the book where you see the “portraits” Lane Smith drew of himself and Chris Harris for their biographies. In the Acknowledgements by Chris Harris, he thanks Lane Smith, but insists, “I DO NOT LOOK LIKE THAT!” You’ll have to check out the portrait yourself and see why Mr. Harris is so emphatic. Also, included in the author’s biography is an explanation of what he does in his free time. He of course, “gets older”, which made me laugh out loud.
This poetry book is filled with poems that will tickle your funny bone no matter how young or old you are, and I’m sure will continue to delight us all as we get older in our free time. One of my personal favorites is “The Race”. It’s about two rocks that decide to race from the mountaintop where they are perched down to the edge of the sea. It begins…
Two rocks on a mountaintop, 90 BC,
Gazed far below at the scenery.
The first one said to the second, “Hey, Lee,
I’ll race you on down to the edge of that sea.”
Then they sat there and sat there and sat there and sat there
And sat there and sat there and sat there.
I know you’re going to want to find out who won the race, so I’ll say it again, check this book out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Some of the poems in the collection offer a bit more seriousness and thoughtfulness. They include “The Whydoo Inside of You”, “Let’s Meet Right Here in Twenty-Five Years” and another favorite of mine, “The Valleys Shape the Mountains”.
The valleys shape the mountains.
The shadow shapes the crescent moon.
The chill of late December
Shapes the warmth we feel in June.
So next time that you’re crying
Just remember this small rhyme;
Your sadness shapes the happiness
You’ll feel again in time.
This is one of those children’s poetry books that needs to find a permanent place on your bookshelf next to Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky, so you can pull it off the shelf when you want to share a good laugh with a child in your life or just with yourself.