A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Intro to poetry via kid-friendly poems aligned with kid sense of humor. Lots of wordplay. Sophisticated vocabulary woven into rhymes; for instance, "reprobate," "primordial," "ungulate."
Implicit message that poetry and wordplay are fun and enjoyable. Some poems have supportive messages about kids' emotions, growth, and other common experiences.
Positive Role Models
In some poems, the poet offers gentle, reassuring advice, or helpful ways of looking at experience, challenges, and life.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that I'm Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups is a collection of poems written by Chris Harris and illustrated by two-time Caldecott Honoree Lane Smith (The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales). Though Harris is new to kids' books, he's earned his comedy cred writing for TV shows like How I Met Your Mother and The Late Show with David Letterman. As the title signals, these poems aren't ponderous, they're rip-roaring fun. In his equally funny illustration, Smith depicts a diverse cast of characters.
Is It Any Good?
This highly imaginative book of poems uses a whole arsenal of clever tricks to get kids to giggle while challenging them to think. The wordplay in I'm Just No Good at Rhyming sensitizes kids to language. Is breakfast chocolate choco-late or choco-early? Other poems are brainteasers; for instance, stretching kids' thinking about time and sentence structure. Sometimes author Chris Harris goes meta, as when illustrator Lane Smith comments, "Sorry, Chris, I have to stop you right there. This poem is too ridiculous." There are also running gags: poems that riff on previous poems. And in a really rogue move, Harris messes with the page numbers, eliminating all eights, which he combines with a poem about a kid who wasn't taught the number eight. He apologizes for putting that kid's parents in charge of pagination.
There are some unusual and surprising rhymes: "tomato/not today though," "grateful/irateful." Mostly, the rhymes trip off the tongue, but there's the occasional near-rhyme misstep: "fierce/years"? And in one poem, Harris leaves his kid-friendly POV to deliver a slightly sour lesson from a parent. But the overall tenor is pure fun, and Smith, who excels at humorous illustration, is the perfect pairing.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.