Bound To Stay Bound

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School Library Journal - 04/01/2005 Gr 2-8-In this "billy sook," which was a 20-year work-in-progress, readers are introduced to Runny Babbit and his friends Toe Jurtle, Skertie Gunk, Goctor Doose, and Millie Woose, and are encouraged to plunge headlong into this phonemic flip-flop world of funny poems. "So if you say, `Let's bead a rook/That's billy as can se,'/You're talkin' Runny Babbit talk,/Just like mim and he." Complete with signature comical bold line drawings that provide visual clues, the poems require concentration to translate the silly phrases: "Runny fad a hamily-/Matter of fact, he had/A sother and two bristers,/A dummy and a mad." Children will love these clever poems and without prompting will probably create their own, unaware that they are focusing on a key reading skill: phonemic awareness. This is a treasure.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. - Copyright 2005 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Bulletin for the Center... - 05/01/2005 This posthumous work from the eminent poet offers over forty poems that spin feats of phonemic inversion to make the Reverend Spooner een with grenvy. The hero of the series is a hapless lagomorph known as Runny Babbit, familiarly known as Runny, who has a series of versical adventures involving friends, family, food, and messes. The initial reversal sounds like a simple gimmick, but Silverstein makes it into a delicious sustained game. The poems (all in bouncily metered rhyme in traditional poetic structures such as ballad meter) are generally conceptually clever and satisfying in their own right, with punchlines amusing even when read with the letters in their proper place. The inversions are sometimes a bit of a visual challenge as well, since the original spelling is retained even when it occasionally miscues pronunciation, but that's part of the fun; an even bigger piece of the fun is the gloriously strange, oddly meaningful constructions that result (after Runny sits on wet paint, "his gur is full of foo"), turning even familiar stories (Cinderella) and rhymes (Yankee Doodle, Jack Be Nimble) into something gleefully silly. It's almost impossible not to read these entries aloud, and they've got a particular advantage there: they're not only great auditory audience-pleasers, they've got the same built-in expectation of entertaining failure as tongue-twisters, which reduces the pressure for accurate reading. Illustrations, in Silverstein's familiar meandering yet determined black lines, often contain additional textual games, and Runny himself is an expressive-eared yet hapless rabbit, the schlemiel of the animal world. Whether read aloud by audacious adults or by one giggling kid to another, Runny Babbit will be a leck of a hot of fun. A title index is included. - Copyright 2005 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

Booklist - 05/01/2005 for reading aloud. Completed prior to his death in 1999, Silverstein's last collection is a celebration of the spoonerism, the verbal game of transposing words' first consonants. Each poem stars Runny Babbit, a skew-eared bunny of indeterminate age and multiple personas. Sometimes Runny is out on dates with his girlfriend; sometimes he is Everychild, with chicken pox and a messy room. Particularly funny are selections that insert Runny into familiar tales with a gleeful, subversive spin; in one scene, for example, Prince Runny searches for Cinderella, slass glipper in paw, but finds, instead, only lots of felly smeet. Although the book doesn't have the extraordinary wit and polish of Silverstein's earlier collections, it will still please the author's numerous fans with its silly scenarios and expressive ink drawings. Kids will instantly adopt the infectious wordplay on the subjects straight from their daily lives: Will it be a peanut jutter and belly or sam handwich for lunch? - Copyright 2005 Booklist.

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