Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

For Laughing Out Loud: Poems to Tickle Your Funnybone

For Laughing Out Loud: Poems to Tickle Your Funnybone

Selected by Jack Prelutsky
Illustrator:  Marjorie Priceman 
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Random House, 1991   ISBN: 978-0394821443

When he set about choosing poems for this collection, poet Jack Prelutsky was interested in finding poems that would make his readers “laugh out loud.” Actually, he wanted even more than that. He wanted his readers to “crow for weeks” and “laugh until you cry.”

Now, this may seem like a rather peculiar thing to want to do, but making people laugh is a wonderful goal to have. Surely the world would be a better place if we all smiled, giggled, and chuckled a little (or a lot) more.

Throughout the book poems of all kinds offer readers amusing anecdotes, stories, and descriptions to enjoy. There are limericks galore, and poems that parody other poems. There are long poems and short ones. There are poems by famous poets such as Michael Rosen, Jane Yolen, and Ogden Nash. There are poems that Jack Prelutsky himself wrote.

The topics that the poems explore are varied, and often they are quite ridiculous, which is exactly what you would expect in a collection of this kind. We read about a man who collects pancakes and whose whole house is decorated with examples of his edible collection. What is nice about this man is that he is a generous collector who is quite willing to let visitors take some of his pancakes home with them; so long as they “say nice things about them.”

The pancake collector is only one of many odd characters who appear on the pages. There is Hughbert who glued himself to the floor, and Chester who, when his sweater unravels, disappears altogether. Beanbag Jim is so loose and limber that he appears to be quite boneless.

Readers will also find a recipe for rhinoceros stew, and will learn how to make a snowflake soufflé. They will hear from a dodo who is terrible sick, and they will even find a poem that consists of a list of rules, one of which is, “Do not bathe in chocolate pudding.”

This is the kind of book a reader can dip into at will. There will always be something that will appeal, no matter what kind of mood the reader is in; and there is always something that will, at the very least, make the reader grin.

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