I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups
What is it
I’m Just No Good at Rhyming is a book in the same vein as Shel Silverstein and Edward Lear, with clever wordplay and nonsense verses that often have profound thoughts buried in silly verse.
Who is it for
It’s for families that read together. I found that this is a book that the kids much prefer to be read aloud by an adult, rather than read on their own.
The silliness is over the heads of the very young, so 5 may be the lower limit. Older kids who are competent readers and writers would also enjoy it.
What Kids Like
They like the silliness of it, the monsters, and the occasional whiff of possible violence. Many of the poems suggest at tantalizing secrets.
They also like the whimsical illustrations by Lane Smith
The cover of the book has an endorsement by B.J. Novak, who wrote “The Book with No Pictures”, which remains one of our kids’ favorites. This endorsement helped sell the book to my kids and convince them to give it a try.
What Parents Like
I like that ‘difficult’ or ‘challenging’ text is so appealing to my kids. And I genuinely like some of the poems. Many are like the best of Dr. Suess, causing me to stop and think a bit. My favorite is the eleven-stanza “A Short Saga” which has some of the absurd humor of the song “Oh, Susannah!” but goes beyond that.
The sun that night was freezing hot,
The ground was soaking dry.
I met a man where he was not
And greeted him good-bye.
With shaven beard combed in a mess
And hair as black as snow,
All bundled up in nakedness
And moving blazing snow
I said, “Then let’s have never met.”
To this, he nodded “No.”
“This night, I’ll vividly forget.
Until back then, hello.”
What the Critics Think
The critics love it.
* NPR has an interview with the author
Who Made it / History
From the publisher’s website:
Chris Harris is a writer and executive producer for How I Met Your Mother and The Great Indoors, and a writer for The Late Show with David Letterman. His pieces have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, ESPN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and on NPR. He was also the author of the anti-travel guide Don’t Go Europe! He lives in Los Angeles.
Lane Smith wrote and illustrated Grandpa Green, which was a 2012 Caldecott Honor book, and It’s a Book, which has been translated into more than twenty-five languages. His other works include the national bestsellers Madam President and John, Paul, George & Ben, the Caldecott Honor winner The Stinky Cheese Man, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, Math Curse, and Science Verse, among others. His books have been New York Times Best Illustrated Books on four occasions. In 2012 the Eric Carle Museum named him an Honor Artist for lifelong innovation in the field of children’s books, and in 2014 he received the Society of Illustrators Lifetime Achievement award. Lane and his wife, book designer Molly Leach, live in rural Connecticut.
Where Can I Get it
I’m Just No Good at Rhyming is available at most major bookstores and Amazon.
You can find educator kits at the publisher’s website
And you can preview the book at Google Books