Sunday, May 4, 2008

Book Review: Dirty Dog Boogie, by Loris Lesynski

Right from the get-go, Loris Lesynski invites the reader to join in the fun, feel the beat, and get set to be silly, in Dirty Dog Boogie, a poetry collection which she both wrote and illustrated.

Slightly smaller than a standard sheet of paper, this slim volume is 32 pages packed with rhythm and fun.  The pages are smooth, and of a nice weight - so they will hold up well to repeated page-turns by excited little hands.  They have just enough of a sheen so that when pint-sized readers burst out laughing, the little bits of juice (from the juicebox they were sipping) that escape their mouths can be easily wiped off the pages, with little harm done.

The illustrations are bold, colorful, cartoonish, and definitely add to the silliness - a perfect complement to the poetry.  The rhymes have a jazzy, swingy feel to them that makes you want to tap your toes and get up and wiggle.  Kid-centric topics are the subject of each poem, and to aid in getting the right rhythm, the author has at times used strategic bold print.

The bulk of the poems are written in first person, from a kid's point of view, which makes it easy for kids to put themselves in the action.  Other poems encourage the reader to have fun with rhymes and feel the beat.  But, they are presented in a "Come join the fun" type of way, and not a "Do this so you can learn something" kind of way.  The author uses lots of word play, and shows the silly side of being a kid.  

All of the poems speak directly to kids, giving voice to their feelings, and especially to their goofiest of thoughts!  There is the quasi-philosophical discussion on sock fluff, for instance.  One can also read about puddles of sun, which is written so descriptively you can just picture it - even if the author professes to be unable to illustrate it.  There's more than one poem that tells all about how it feels to be fidgety.  (Something many grown-ups seem to have forgotten the feel of!)  So much fun and hilarity is jammed into these pages, that a child will be hard-pressed not to find something to his or her liking.

For Teachers and Librarians:
This book presents a wealth of opportunities for teaching a poetry unit - rhyme, rhythm, different types of poetic forms, different ways to read poetry aloud, etc.  The kids will have a blast both reading these poems, and listening to them.  The poems lend themselves well as frameworks from which your students can create their own poems.  In fact, the author encourages this - which you can see for yourself if you visit her website.  This is a welcome accompaniment to the book, as Ms Lesynski provides a ton of activity ideas, printables, and ways to have fun reading her poems aloud.  It's all there in pages she's created especially for you.

For Parents, Grandparents and Caregivers:
Ms Lesynski's poems are a delightful romp through the ridiculous and the silly, and your kids will have a great time reading these either with you or on their own.  Use it to turn their sour moods back to sweet, or pull it out to brighten up a rainy day.  Also, check the author's website for ways to increase the fun with printable coloring pages, and ideas for fun things to do together using the poems from this book.

For the Kids:
These poems will make you want to tap your toes, wiggle your nose, and get up and dance!  Be silly!  Have fun!  Read them all, and you'll want to read them again and again.  And then, you can make up your own poems, using the ones in this book as a guide.  The author's website has lots of other fun stuff you can do using the poems in this book, but be sure to ask your parents for permission and help, first.  

Wrapping up:
Dirty Dog Boogie has some great rhymes, and lots of opportunities for fun and giggles in a jazzy, swing-beat kind of way.

Title: Dirty Dog Boogie
Author/Illustrator: Loris Lesynski
Pages: 32
Ages: 4-8 years
Publisher and date: Annick Press (U.S.) Ltd., 1999
Edition: Second printing, April 2005 paperback
Language: English
Published in: United States
Price: $6.95
ISBN-10: 1550375725
ISBN-13: 978-1550375725

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