Friday, August 11, 2017

Nothing Rhymes with Orange by Adam Rex

Finally, Adam Rex has addressed the truth of the matter in a hilarious picture book called Nothing Rhymes With Orange. Maybe, you too, have tried to rhyme orange before, with little success? But does Rex succeed?
The book starts off with the rhyming line “Who wouldn’t travel anywhere to get an apple or a pear?” On the second page, the rhyme continues, “And if that chum hands you a plum, be fair and share that treat!” Stage left, an orange wearing boots peeks around the corner of the page.  Then, he asks, “Hey, are you going to need me for this book?” But all the other fruit ignore him, and carry on singing the refrain found throughout the book, which is “Fruit! They’re healthy happy colorful and cute!” And the way Rex illustrates the fruit (by drawing eyes, mouths, arms, and legs onto a photograph of real fruit, they do indeed look cute and happy). But poor orange is left out of the singalong.
The book takes an odd turn featuring a rhyme of “peachy” with “Friedrich Nietzsche,” as if to emphasize the ridiculousness that Nietzsche gets some prime-time space in a picture book for children, but orange is still being ignored! When the pear turns into a pearwolf, the orange says, “This book’s sorta gone off the rails.” But that’s what I love about it.
At the end of the book, the reader sees orange, alone on the white page, looking downcast and glum. Before long, the other fruit find him, singing, “But the fruit are feeling rotten, ‘cause there’s someone we’ve forgotten!”
Of course, it’s orange. But I’m not going to tell you if he rhymes with anything!

*Advisory: Laughter may ensue

Circle, Triangle, Elephant!: A Book of Shapes & Surprises

A simple book of shapes turns into a delightful game in Circle, Triangle, Elephant by Kenji Oikawa and Mayuko Takeuchi. A vibrant board book for children ages 0-3, it is indeed a “Book of Shapes and Surprises.” It begins innocently enough, with a red triangle balanced on top of a pink circle balanced on top of a blue square. The next page is not too different, with the order being “circle rectangle triangle.” But, turn the page and there’s an elephant?! Smack dab between a triangle and a circle. Each page turn brings more unexpected surprises, such as a boat, a face, and lemons! This book is a great way to teach children to recognize basic shapes even when the order and color of the shapes change. Read this outloud enough times, and soon, your child will be pointing at the shapes (and other surprises), reading, “Circle, Triangle, Elephant!”