My Hippo Has the Hiccups Hardcover – 1 Apr 2009
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Taking lessons from Jack Prelutsky, Kenn Nesbitt feeds kids a seemingly boundless feast of belly laughs and funny-bone ticklers.
About the Author
Kenn Nesbitt is the author of several collections of funny poetry for kids, including "Revenge of the Lunch Ladies," "When the Teacher Isn't Looking," and "The Aliens Have Landed at Our School!" His poems have appeared many bestselling anthologies, including every book in the popular "Kids Pick the Funniest Poems" series, and anthologies from Scholastic with nearly 2 million copies in print. His works have been in dozens of school textbooks around the world, as well as national television programs, and numerous children's magazines. Kenn travels the country, visiting over 60 schools each year, sharing his wacky brand of poetry with kids nationwide, and helping to create a new generation of poetry lovers. His website, Poetry4Kids, is the most popular children's poetry website on the Internet.
Ethan Long is a children's book author and illustrator whose titles include the extremely popular Tickle the Duck: Don't You Dare and the hilarious sequel, Stop Kissing Me! He has also illustrated Manana Iguana, by Ann Whitford Paul, and the Riot Brothers series by Mary Amato. The pilot for his animated television series, Farm Force, won the Nextoons: 2005 Nicktoons Film Festival Viewer's Choice Award and is currently in development. His animated short series ZeFronk, a cooking show starring a wiener dog with amazing cooking skills, will premiere on Playhouse Disney in the fall of 2008.
Top Customer Reviews
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Have you ever considered the plight of the truly frog-obsessed? Or taken into consideration the ramifications of what it means when vegetables get angry? Have you thought about what you would do with a hole in the ground if you could really get one all the way to China? Or subjected yourself to image of a penguin wearing a Speedo? Time to start, folks. In 109 poems poet Kenn Nesbitt applies serious (well, maybe not TOO serious) interest to these as well as other silly questions. Puns and poems, jokes and junk, this is a book for the kid with an id. An accompanying CD contains Mr. Nesbitt himself reading thirty-nine of what he hath wrought.
Most of the poems in this book end with a single line or sentence that throws everything you read before on its head. The kid who dreamed of riding a zebra to school wakes up laughing and decides to ride the giraffe instead. The boy who claims he's too full after dinner asks whether or not there will be any dessert on the menu. Sometimes you get a pretty obvious one coming that even a nine-year-old will spot, but at other times, as with the poem "Blackbeard and Bluebeard and Redbeard," the kicker is unexpected and divine. I'm sorry but anyone who can pun up the word "marooned" has my instant appreciation. Nesbitt also indulges in a couple twists, turns, and flourishes that are entirely his own. For example, the poem "Izzy O'Rainty" comes across as fairly inspired. I mean, check out this opening: "I's Izzy O'Rainty / I ain't not bizarre / I is how I ain't / and I ain't how I are."
Nesbitt will also switch up the rhyme scheme once in a while, though you won't necessarily be able to use this book to teach different forms. But while many are the usual ABAB form, once in a while you'll hit on an AAAB AAAB rhyme scheme (I'm sure that there's a name for this and I'm equally certain that I don't know what it is). And to my infinite relief everything scans. Mind you, you might not realize that right off the bat. For example, in the poem "Today I Wrote This Poem" the last line looks like "with an A++++!" but to make the scansion work you actually have to say each and every plus listed.
The partner in crime here is artist Ethan Long, a man best known at this point for his "Tickle the Duck!." It is interesting to note what Mr. Long has chosen to and not to illustrate. For example, I would think that the "Mythical Monster Party" would be a no-brainer. With lines like "The Tritons are rapping, the Chimeras chant," how don't you put pen to paper? But there must be reasons why this piece remained blank. I also wonder how much interaction went on between Nesbitt and Long. After all, some of the jokes in this book require the illustration as the explanatory gag. For example, "My Father Looks Like Frankenstein" is coupled with a picture of a mummy looking at herself in a mirror. This is to go along with the final line, "I really can't explain how I / turned out to be so pretty." Now the poem doesn't work a jot without the image, so Nesbitt must have been taking visuals into consideration when he wrote some of his verses.
Kenn reads thirty-nine of these poems on an accompanying CD that is included with the book. He's a good reader. His voice changes in pitch and tone depending on the poem in question. Since he doesn't read all the poems there were some I would have liked to have heard parsed, like "Lefty the Lifter" which happens to contain lines like, "Lefty, listing swiftly leftly / drifted off a cliff did." Or I'd even like to hear him sing "My Bunny Lies Over My Doggy" (sung to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean"). But at least you get something like "Selley Sellers" which is a tongue twister read three times in an increasingly fast fashion.
It's hard to dislike a book that contains poems with titles like, "My Puppy Punched Me In the Eye". There are some mild flubs (the idea of Lois Lane being a street is used more than once as a joke) but on the whole this is a strong collection of fun and silly poems, ideal for the kid who wants poetry concerned with robots, rabbits, and ridiculousness. Poetry just the way children like it: short and funny.
Poetry4kids.com is the most visited children's poetry website in the world for good reason. Ken Nesbitt is the master of hilarious poetry that children and adults alike will fall in love with. I think the key to the success of this poetry is how intentionally appealing he makes it to children. No, it's not flowery or mystical. It's good old fashioned kid style humor about burping, stinky sisters, annoying parents and making stuff up. Even better, he writes poems on ridiculous subjects with titles like Meat Loaf, I Taught My Cat to Clean My Room, I Bought a Pet Banana and My Elephant Thinks I'm Wonderful.
The book of poems is wonderfully entertaining to read, but they truly come to life when Kenn lends his voice. Listeners will enjoy thirty-nine poems on the CD that accompanies the book., which is ideal for children who are not yet able to read. But Ken doesn't just read the poems - he talks directly to his audience, cracking jokes and explaining how the poems came about. He also offers advice on how anyone can take the steps to become a poet.
This is a great book of poetry that will have kids giggling and hopefully finding out that poetry can be a lot of fun. The goal is to show children that writing poetry isn't as daunting of a task as they might think. Kenn shows us that poetry can be about absolutely anything and encourages everyone to give it a try.
I also love the CD. During the month of April (poetry month) we listen to Kenn Nesbit read a poem each morning. It starts us off with giggles and motivates us to write our own funny poems. I highly recommend it!