Book Beat

Dr. Seuss Still Gives Us a Lift

by Frank Lipsius

National Poetry Month reminds us of the pick-me-up poems can give us. The work of prolific poet Dr. Seuss survives him with silly, but also enjoyable and at times meaningful rhymes.

This, the 50th anniversary of his Happy Birthday To You, has elicited a party edition in loud reflective covers (Random House, $14.95) and a new Dr. Seuss’s Happy Birthday Baby, a shorter baby version in hard boards with pull flaps (Random House, $9.99).

There is also a re-issue of You’re Only Old Once: A Book for Obsolete Children (Random House, $17.99). Its “Eyesight and Solvency Test” may be a trip through demoralizing, familiar encounters with unsympathetic and expensive doctors, but Dr. Seuss’s comfortingly cheerful rhymes add zest and humor that make him the perfect companion to read into decrepit old age. He serves up humorous reminders that no one wants to get old in seemingly easy, but hard-to-duplicate, verse.

Alan Katz’s stories in rhyme feature clever endings and illustrations in the funny, fuzzy style of Edward Koren. Oops! (McElderry, $17.99), the sequel to best-selling Take Me Out of the Bathtub, provides an all-new array of youthful escapades, from the bus on the first day of school to Grandpa drooling while he sleeps. The quick and quick-witted episodes are fun and funny, and the author adds a post-script with
his own drawings and a bit of autobiography about becoming a kids’ writer.

Loose Leashes (Random House, $16.99) combines Amy Schmidt’s poems that look at the world through the eyes of dogs with Ron Schmidt’s photos that put the dogs there, some with glasses, others with surfboards strapped to them among various incongruous poses. The poet provides correspondingly incongruous rhymes about the dogs’ lives as humans.

City I Love (Abrams, $16.95) is an affectionate take on New York sports with soaring illustrations by Marcellus Hall and quick-take poems by Lee Bennett Hopkins.

Frank Lipsius is a contributing writer to MetroKids.