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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Sounds of letters. Sound and spelling of words. Wordplay. Intro to poetry via fun poems tailor-made for kids' silly sensibilities.
Implicit message that it's fun to play with words and language, and that poetry's fun and enjoyable.
Positive Role Models
Shows fun-loving animals and kind Ramma Mabbit.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Runny Babbit Returns: Another Billy Sook is by beloved poet Shel Silverstein (Falling Up) and is a follow-up to his long-running bestseller Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook. Though Silverstein died in 1999, he'd worked for years on these poems and accompanying illustrations, and they're now published posthumously. In each poem, the first letters of some of the words have been swapped. For instance, Bunny Rabbit becomes Runny Babbit, and Silly Book morphs into Billy Sook. Silverstein's poetry books for kids are always fun, and the wordplay in this one makes it even more so.
Is It Any Good?
Shel Silverstein is a master at short, kid-friendly poems with a fun twist at the end, and in these poems, he adds another playful element: switching around the initial letters of some words. These spoonerisms make Runny Babbit Returns: Another Billy Sook even more fun to read. The poems, all centered around "Runny Babbit" and his animal friends, are puzzles to solve, requiring kids to actively listen and flip letters to decode the words and uncover the sense. The opening poem orients kids and explains how it works. Since kids are much closer to the experience of learning language in the first place, it's not so long ago that real words sounded equally new and silly to them, so these scrambles will tickle young funny bones.
But even without the switcheroos, these punch-line poems would be classic. Silverstein was a noted editorial cartoonist, and the black-and-white line drawings of the animals are perfect companions to the jaunty rhymes. Though the book has 42 poems that span 96 pages, don't be scared off from picking this up as a bedtime book. It guarantees giggles.
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.