Please note: this book does not publish until January 2013. I read a galley copy.
The second I heard about this book in our planning meetings and saw some of the sample illustrations, I was hooked. The fact that it was soon compared to the works of Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss sealed the deal tighter. Of course, I thought to myself, I’m sure it’s not as good but good enough! Well, friends, take it from me—it was as good.
Poetry for kids can be incredibly tough. Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss were wise and kept things fairly short. Robert Paul Weston took things to a whole new level and wrote an actual novel in the form of poetry that kids will adore (and that’s a guarantee). It’s modern, funny, cheeky, ironic, and inspiringly creative. While reading the first few chapters, I couldn’t help but think back to sixth grade where my Language Arts teacher tried so hard to make us write Shape/Concrete poetry. THIS should be in every 6th grade classroom as the perfect example of one. We got as creative as writing words in spirals and slants; he turns words into actual works of art. I literally stopped to admire the fact that when he talked about someone bowing low, the word bowing actually looked like a bending spine. As my eyes moved across the word, it looked like the word was slowly bowing down to me! Amazing.
This book isn’t just all funny and creative—it also touches you. It explores the importance of family, friendship, and not following the crowd. If you’re reading it as an adult, you might find it a little “obvious” but for kids, it’s just perfect. That’s not to say my emotions weren’t swayed by the book because they absolutely were. When Prince Puggly experienced the height of meanness from the Kingdom of Spiff, I felt incredibly sad for him. My heart sank just a bit! Not to give anything away, but RPW leaves us with an amazing twist at the end that left me going “Say whaaa? That’s so cool!”
A really good children’s book is one that brings the child out in an adult. This book falls under that category. I can’t wait till it’s out so everyone can share the fun!