Prelutsky, Jack. 1984. The new kid on the block. Ill. by James Stevenson. New York: Scholastic, Inc. ISBN 0590408364
In this collection, Prelutsky applies his knack for rhythm and rhyme to a variety of humorous subjects ranging from homework to dragon birthdays. Though the lengths of the poems vary from four lines to full pages, each poem contains something new - be it vocabulary or just a new way to view the subject. Steveonson's sketch-drawings also serve to illustrate the thoughts and ideas of the poems.
Prelutsky is a popular choice among children as his poems often deal with ridiculous or otherwise kid-friendly subjects and ideas. These subjects do not readily lend themselves to in-depth, educationally sound study though they do serve to expand vocabulary and sometimes horizons.
As always, Stevenson's drawings are well done and reflective of the poems. However, the drawings are not necessary to complete the thoughts of the poems. They are humorous additions to the poetry but the poems can stand alone.
Professional Review Excerpt
from Amazon.com This exuberant valise of verse bulges with more than 100 poems about things you've never thought about, such as Underwater Wibbles who dine exclusively on cheese, and things you probably have thought about, such as sneezing oysters and the dot-gobbling Flotz. Jack Prelutsky, one of the premier children's poets of our time, manages to be deadpan and goofy simultaneously and in perfect rhythm right up to the pleasantly unpredictable punch lines of his poems.
Take "Jellyfish Stew." "You're soggy, you're smelly, / you taste like shampoo, / you bog down my belly / with oodles of goo, / yet I would glue noodles / and prunes to my shoe, / for one oozy spoonful / of jellyfish stew." Poems about greedy grannies, exploding Bloders, and hypothetical situations such as having your nose unfortunately situated between your toes are guaranteed to delight you and your favorite kids. Quirky, surprising, and always delightful, Prelutsky's poems make us wish we'd grown up with his books in hand. Illustrator James Stevenson's loose pen-and-ink sketches are lively and fluid, waltzing along perfectly with Prelutsky's playful poetry.
~ An obvious use of this book is in a study of poetry.
~ This collection is a wonderful way to expand vocabulary among students.
~ A wonderful use of Prelutsky's poetry is to develop public speaking skills by having students memorize and/or recite various poems. This is also a valuable method for teaching expression and fluency and since the poems are so appealing to the students, they have few objections.