Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles Book Poster Image
Short, funny poems a sure bet to delight kids.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Implicit is the message that life is funny and that it's OK to be silly and use your imagination and your powers of observation to create funny creatures and situations and describe them in short rhyming poems.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The narrators of the poems appear to be regular kids doing fun and funny things, so readers feel as if they can relate to them, even in absurd or fantasy-filled situations. 

Violence

Creepy/funny image accompanying the poem "Open-Minded" shows a boy opening up the top of his head and revealing (in a few in broad strokes) his brain.

Sex

Silly poem "Love Potion" talks about a boy taking a potion that makes him kiss "All people in sight," including four cousins, his Aunt Matilda, his neighbor Eduardo, and his friend Nilda: "I kissed a policeman, / Whose name was Attila, / But I didn't stop till / I kissed a gorilla."  

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that author, poet, and illustrator Douglas Florian's Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles is a kid-friendly, rhyming poetry collection that totally delivers on its subtitle -- it's virtually guaranteed to give smiles and in some cases belly laughs. Each of the 170 clever, often absurdist nonsense poems is illustrated by an inviting, kid-like line drawing. This entertaining collection's great for hooking reluctant readers or anyone with a sense of humor!

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What's the story?

POEM DEPOT: AISLES OF SMILES features short, funny rhyming poems arranged in the "aisles" of a virtual store under labels such as "Wit & Whimsy," "Jests & Jives," and "Tons of Puns." The entertaining poems reflect a kid's-eye view of the world with funny observations about real life (having to clean your room, getting a cold) and crazy, absurdist imaginings about such things as: having a talking dog, being eaten by an alligator, swimming from Japan to Australia, a girl waking up and noticing her nose and mouth are missing and her toes are where her ears are supposed to be, a boy losing his appetite and looking for it everywhere, and a nose that's running -- literally.

Is it any good?

The poems in Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles are perfect for kids: They're short, funny, silly, and easy to gobble up quickly or savor bit by bit. Each one has a good comic punch, and the kid-like line drawings that accompany each are inviting and often amplify the joke. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • What's cool about poetry? How is it different from prose writing? 

  • Does poetry always have to rhyme? Have you read poems that don't rhyme (called free verse)? 

  • Try writing a funny poem about something in real life. Then write one about something crazy that doesn't really exist!

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