Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Flamingos on the Roof

Flamingos on the Roof

Calef Brown
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2006   ISBN: 978-0618562985

For centuries people have been writing poetry to share ideas and feelings with others, to tell stories, and to describe people and places. Often poems of this kind are serious, thought provoking, and meditative, but every so often someone comes along who likes to use poetry to make people laugh. Calef Brown is just such a person.

In this splendid poetry collection Calef Brown gives us poems that are deliciously odd and funny. He begins with a poem called Alphabet Sherbet in which he asks us, “Have you ever heard of it?” He then goes on to tells us about the “beautifully blue” B’s and the “fair” F’s that one finds in this cold, sweet, word-filled dessert.

Many of the other poems in this book introduce us to very interesting characters, like Angus, a dog who used to wear very boring and dull clothes. Now he wears a plaid suit that he made himself and he “never takes it off.” Then there is Bob who built a chopper in a bottle, and Sally who is Medusa’s sister. As you probably know, Medusa has snakes instead of hair, and if you look at her, her gaze will turn you to stone. Sally has a variation of this reptilian coiffure. She has “a single lazy snake” on her head, but instead of turning you to stone, her curse is “much worse.” Sally “makes you stop and talk.”

Then there are the poems that describe things such as worms, orchids, and an Allicatter Gatorpillar. An Allicatter Gatorpiller is a truly remarkable creature. It can change its appearance and become an Allibutter Gatorfly!

If you want to know about the TV Taxi you need go no further because a poem in this book will tell you all about it. Have you thought about replacing your birthday candles with light bulbs? If you have, you are not alone. Someone else has come up with the same idea and you can read about her in the poem Birthday Lights.

There are poems in this title that suit all kinds of personalities and moods, and throughout the book the poems are complimented by wonderfully colorful illustrations.