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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Melvis and Elvis, written by Dennis Lee and illustrated by Jeremy Tankard. HarperCollinsPublishersLtd., 2015. $19.99 ages 5 and up

"Open this book,
And you will see
A secret path
Called POETRY.

Follow the path,
And you will find
A home for your heart,
And a treat for your mind."

Hooray! Dennis Lee is back, and we are happy to 'hear' his voice once again. Some of the poetry we loved to share when the kids were young were Alligator Pie, Garbage Delight, and Jelly Belly. They still have pride of place on our poetry shelf, and will surely be shared with my sweet granddaughter whenever she visits.

This new collection concerns Melvis (a monster) and Elvis (an elf), how they become friends and then find a book that suits both readers. It's strange; Melvis wants to read about elves while Elvis wants to read about monsters. Guess where they meet? In the library, of course. When they find a book about both elves and monsters, they settle in to share it.

Now, we can move on to page 2. The rest of the book comes directly from that shared book. Each short story is told in verse, and will surely tickle the funny bones of those reading it. Dennis Lee penned many poems before settling on the ones that would perfectly fit together for this brand new book for a young audience. There are more than thirty new verses, including:

To a Bully

We don’t like the measles,
And we don’t like the flu.
We don’t like bullies,
And we can’t stand you.

Each poem is full of fun and sure to entertain all who read them. It won't be long until you hear your little one repeating them endlessly. There are many Canadian references, a real bonus to my mind. They deal with subjects that kids find most charming and compelling: dinosaurs, food, animals, the playground. The rhymes are nonsensical at times, and full of witty wordplay. That makes them as enjoyable to read from the adult perspective as they are to be heard from the listener's.

Jeremy Tankard, as he is wont to do, creates boldly colored images to perfectly match the joy of the poetry. Every single one is illustrated according to its mood, whether quiet or boisterous. It is quite the magical pairing.


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