I want to thank these terrific Round 2 Judges. It’s never an easy task to decide one winner from seven finalists.
Joy Acey Frelinger
Poetry for Kids Joy
Kid Book List
My Juicy Little Universe
A decision was reached after back and forth critical discussion. And I am pleased to announce our winner:
I’M JUST NO GOOD AT RHYMING AND OTHER NONSENSE FOR MISCHIEVOUS KIDS AND IMMATURE GROWN-UPS
by Chris Harris
Illustrated by Lane Smith
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: Jen N.
No one is immune to stress in this era of political rancor and natural disaster, including kids. Luckily, a stress-busting antidote is served up in the impeccably rhymed I’m Just No Good at Rhyming and Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups, written by Chris Harris and illustrated by Lane Smith. Hilarious, sweet, and thought-provoking, this collection bowled the judges over with its bouncing rhythms, dazzling word play, and rank foolishness. (And the judges weren’t the only ones–review copies kept disappearing into the bedrooms and backpacks of nearby middle-graders.)
I’m Just No Good at Rhyming is a literary tour de force that consistently delights. It’s A. A. Milne crossed with Shel Silverstein, seasoned with a dash of Oscar Wilde and a hint of Roseanne Roseannadanna. It reads like a giant inside joke–a joke that anyone with a funny bone and a few minutes to read can get inside. (Except for 11 ½- year-olds. They have to come back when they are 12. Just read the jacket flap.)
There are stunning visual quips like The Duel, where the letters b and d face off (it doesn’t go well, resulting in p and q). There’s an ongoing feud between Harris and Smith, as seen in I Don’t Like My Illustrator and its lovely accompanying portrait of the author. It has groan-worthy puns, (The Old Woman Who Lived in Achoo) and plenty of the absurd (Just Because I’m a Turkey Sandwich and Some Chips Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Have Feelings Too, You Know!) Masterfully sprinkled throughout the silly, naughty, and nonsensical are poignant moments like I’m Shy on the Outside:
I’m the life of the party here under my skin.
So keep knocking—
Someday I might let you in.
I’m Just No Good at Rhyming will make poetry lovers of young and old, from any background and experience, even the poetry skeptics–it’s just subversive enough that kids will be passing it around the playground like contraband candy. Best of all, it will make them laugh. Giggle. Chortle. Guffaw. And couldn’t we all use a little more of that these days?
For more winners go to the CYBILS.