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Book Review: *The Tighty Whitey Spider* by Kenn Nesbitt

  • The Tighty Whitey Spider (and more wacky animal poems I totally made up) by Kenn Nesbitt; illustrated by Ethan Long
  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky; (April 1, 2010)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402238338
  • Back-of-the-book blurb:  It’s official:  Kids want more of Kenn Nesbitt’s sidesplitting poetry.  They can’t get enough of his clever wordplay, wonderful imagery, and zany rhymes.

    In this brand-new collection, Kenn has totally made up over fifty poems involving acrobatic cats, Kung Fu pets, and dogs playing invisible Frisbee.

    She is Too Fond of Books’ review:  It’s official:  Kenn Nesbitt’s poetry is kid- and parent-approved!  His ‘wacky animal poems’ carry the common thread of silly critters in impossible situations – a recipe for laugh-out-loud page-turning fun.  Ethan Long’s black line drawings illustrate the hilarity, still leaving plenty of room for imagination.

    I was a little concerned when the very first poem, “Tighty Whitey Spider,” features an eight-legged creature with a wedgie; not to fear, Nesbitt got it out of his system early on, and there is very little bathroom/body humor in the rest of the book.  I was a fly on the wall listening to my kids discuss, “so, he has eight legs, is that four wedgies, or do the legs go around his body in a circle, so he gets eight wedgies?”  Have a little math with your poetry, kids!

    Several of the poems are written in the cadence of tunes that kids will recognize and may want to sing along to, including “Ferret Soccer” (Frere Jacques), “On Top of Mount Everest” (On Top of Old Smokey), and the title poem, “Tighty Whitey Spider” (Itsy Bitsy Spider). 

    Nesbitt includes animals of every shape and size, from amoebas to hippopotamuses; the poems also vary in length, from one short stanza to six or so.  We liked the variety of subjects, rhythm and length; for some reason the kids preferred the poems that were read, not sung to a suggested tune (correction: my son is reading over my shoulder and tells me the singing is only a problem when I’m leading the story time!).

    My Kitten Won’t stop Talking

    My kitten won’t stop talking.
    She just prattles night and day.
    She walks around repeating
    nearly everything I say.

    My kitten never says, “Meow.”
    She never even purrs.
    She mimics me instead
    in that annoying voice of hers.

    She waits for me to speak,
    and then she copies every word,
    or begs me for a cracker,
    or says, “I’m a pretty bird.”

    I’m not sure what to do, and so
    I simply grin and bear it.
    She’s been this way since yesterday;
    that’s when she ate my parrot.

    Included with the purchase of the book is a free audio download; listeners young and old will enjoy hearing Nesbitt read and sing over 40 tracks.  If you’d like a sneak peek (or listen) from his previous collection, My Hippo Has the Hiccups, visit the link before the end of April.

    About the author:  Kenn Nesbitt is the author of several funny poetry books for children; his work has appeared in a number of anthologies and school textbooks.  He  is often invited to visit and perform his poetry at schools and libraries, where he is met with an enthusiastic audience.  Nesbitt is the founder of Poetry 4 Kids, a popular children’s poetry website.  I wonder if he has any wacky animal pets at home!?

    I’m reviewing The Tighty Whitey Spider during National Poetry Month.  Head over to this post at Savvy Verse and Wit, where Serena has organized a poetry blog tour.   You’ll find spotlights on poets and poetry collections, including other reviews of The Tighty Whitey Spider.

    FTC disclosure:  review copy provided by the publisher

    13 comments to Book Review: *The Tighty Whitey Spider* by Kenn Nesbitt

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