8 April 2010 777 views No Comment
[caption id="attachment_1330" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Photo by Clarita"][/caption]By Lisa Pimentel Johnson Recently, poems have been swirling around in my mind like confetti. It was no surprise then that my eyes latched onto a children’s book of poems by Jeff Foxworthy. Yes, that Jeff Foxworthy who is also one of the most successful and respected recorded comedians in the country. He has written more than twenty-two books, hosts a popular TV show, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader, and runs a syndicated weekly radio show, The Foxworthy Countdown. I don’t know how he found the time to write poems for children, but thankfully he did, and they capture the very essence of being a child. Here’s one example of the poems in his book, Dirt on My Shirt. Dirt on My Shirt There’s dirt on my shirt And leaves in my hair There’s mud on my boots But I don’t really care. Playing outside is so much fun To breathe the clean air And feel the warm sun. To stomp in a puddle Or climb a big tree Makes me quite happy Just look and you’ll see. Jeff’s sly humorous words work well with the charming illustrations of Steve Bjorkman. To add a bit of playfulness to the book, look carefully at the picture for the poem, What Do You See?, and find all the objects mentioned. By turning the pages of this book, you enter the neighborhood, friends, and family of the author. You will meet Aunt Foo Foo, Cousin Lizzy, Uncle Moe, snakes, and even flying to the imaginary planet Woosocket. Maybe it will inspire you to write your own poetry with your child and color it with balloons, bugs, or mud! How can I ever eat bacon again after falling in love with the slightly high maintenance pig called Olivia? The author and illustrator, Ian Falconer, enchants the reader with an unforgettable fashionista doll faced pig who has theatrical attitude and talent. In the book, Olivia, the graphic use of black, red, white, and all values in between, herald back to the author’s art design credentials for the New York City Ballet, the San Francisco Opera, and the Royal Opera House in Convent Garden, among many others. This gifted artist also slides into his book a few recognizable famous works of art: on page 26, a detail from Ballet Rehearsal on the Set by Edgar Degas and on page 29, a detail from Autumn Rhythm #30 by Jackson Pollock. Weaving art appreciation with a cute little story about a porcine heroine is pure genius! Olivia will impress you with her self esteem, her wardrobe, and her spirit for life. It may also make you pause before eating bacon again! It sounds kind of sappy, But it makes me happy, To have a good look, Through any children’s book!