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Parents' Guide to

Runny Babbit Returns: Another Billy Sook

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Scrambled letters make funny poems even sillier.

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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.

Book Details

  • Author: Shel Silverstein
  • Illustrator: Shel Silverstein
  • Genre: Poetry
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publication date: September 19, 2017
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 8
  • Number of pages: 96
  • Available on: Hardback
  • Last updated: September 15, 2017

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