The Wonder Book
What It Is
This collection of more than two dozen poems, short stories and random observations about life and childhood is by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, author of the “Cookie” series of life lessons. The selections cover a number of topics children often wonder about. They range from simple questions such as “Who left something under the tooth fairy’s pillow when she was little?” to irreverent musings like how to say “fart” in nine languages. There is also a clever poem entitled, “Prince Backwards,” in which you read from the last line to the top, among many other works.
Why It’s Fun
While not a literary home run, this collection is a fun way to inject a little poetry into your child’s reading repertoire, especially if appreciation of poetry does not come easy, as with my family. Some passages read like classic childhood rhymes, such as “The Less Famous Friends of Mary Mack” (to the beat of the age-old jump rope song). Others may teach us a concept, such as palindromes (words or phrases that read the same forward and backward.) And, as noted above, some works are irreverent, such as my 6-year-old daughter’s favorite, “Tinkle, tinkle in the sea, don’t look under while I pee...” But then, a little bathroom humor never hurt anyone. Some selections seem cleverly geared to adults such as “Rhyming Summary of the Universe.” In an effort to remind us life is really about, Ms. Rosenthal eloquently writes, “64 crayons you do not really need. To be happy with three is to be happy indeed.” Well said!
Who’s Going To Love It
This is a fun choice for some variety, but with a few “watch-outs” for those who may not appreciate some of the schoolyard humor. This book could also be a fun coffee table or (dare I say) guest bathroom book. In terms of ages, kids in elementary school or those with a more sophisticated sense of humor would “get” the poems and stories. And, of course, know your audience before giving it as a gift.
6 out of 10
THE WONDER BOOK
Written by: Amy Krouse Rosenthal; Drawings by Paul Schmid
Published by: Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (2010)
Approximate retail price: $17.99
Publisher’s recommended ages: (not provided)