Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 60.
- Review Date: 2009-01-19
- Reviewer: Staff
In this “handy guide/ (For children overqualified/ For boring jobs”), Lewis (Doodle Dandies) and the sublime Bloch (Butterflies in My Stomach) catalogue some of the more esoteric professions. There's the crossword puzzle maker (“I make up clues for/ 'Olive' (green), / 'Lentil or garbanzo' (bean)” and the titular specialty haberdasher (“You wear them briefly/ And in short,/ I sell them chiefly/ For support”); the center spread salutes the marathon runner with a poem set into the map of a course. Lewis deserves applause for his sophisticated wordplay and his willingness to push readers in terms of poetic conceits: anyone who attempts to explain to kids what a philosopher does—in verse, no less—deserves a paean himself. It's a shame, then, that poems that start out so promisingly often run out of steam and wrap up with weak jokes (a pet groomer bemoans a customer who forgets “toupee”; a plumber works in “Inside The Twoilet zone”). Bloch's wonderful digital collages save the day: his signature combination of piquant ink doodles and witty found objects lends elegant playfulness to every page. Ages 7–10. (Mar.)
A turn for the verse
With a title like The Underwear Salesman: And Other Jobs for Better or Verse you're bound to attract more than a few curious literary onlookers and, perhaps, one or two young job seekers. This series of poems by J. Patrick Lewis (of Please Bury Me in the Library fame) focuses on career possibilities running the gamut from ice sculptor, belly dancer and banana picker to elevator operator, garbage collector, and highway line painter. And in a stroke of well-placed wisdom, "Poet" lyrically describes the bard's life: "I take a word, and then another, / Let them get to know each other." Each poem is a joy and Serge Bloch's snazzy illustrations add to the mirth of poems such as "Plumber": "Here's a job to call your own when you're in the twoilet zone."