Reviews for Underwear Salesman : And Other Jobs for Better or Verse


Booklist Reviews 2009 March #1
Puns are everywhere in this playful, rhyming survey of jobs, and the collage illustrations extend the verbal fun with wry, literal images, from the butcher named Sloppy Joe to an underwear salesman, whose sales pitch includes instructions to wear his garments "briefly." The sounds of the words will appeal to grade-schoolers, and so will the visuals, from the double-page spread of the marathon runner in the city streets ("Motivation / Perspiration / Long duration") to the view of the subway driver as "a sixty-mile-an-hour mole" who worms his way underground. Then there is the fancy gymnast who tries for a triple-handspring somersault and ends up "very horizontal." Kids will get the message that comes from these scenes of adults at work: grown-up life is fun, sometimes, but there is "no need to hurry" to get there. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2009 January #2
The goofy cover and subtitle alone will raise giggles as they set the stage for Lewis to play poetic pundit for 47 jobs--odd jobs. To name just a few: Elevator Operator, Ice Sculptor, Belly Dancer, Highway Line Painter, Marathon Runner, Banana Picker, Crossword Puzzle Maker, Ventriloquist, Acupuncturist, Plumber (the job "inside the Twoilet Zone") and even Librarian. Bloch's quirky, digital collage illustrations play up the silliness of the rhymes, some of which are better and some are "verse," while the wacky page compositions caricature the unusual careers. Some poetry lines and details in the illustrations skew more to adult humor than children's; the Fashion Designer spread, for instance, includes a small drawing of Karl Lagerfeld. But what a way to liven up Career Day! Kids will love the humor--a sample, from the Skyscraper Window Washer: "Window pain: / Ordinary words / Cannot express / My thoughts on birds." The picture shows the man with birds (and a bit of poo) on his head and his squeegee. A solid selection. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 January #3

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.)

[Page 60]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 April

Gr 4-8--Forty-nine poems describe nearly as many occupations, several of them nontraditional--ice sculptor, acrobat, bridge painter, belly dancer. As in his previous collections, Lewis has included a variety of styles: rhyming pairs, quatrain, limerick, series of rhyming words. His talent for tongue-in-cheek wordplay ("I give my bulldog a quick/Tug-of-warning!"--"Dog Trainer"), illustrative description ("A sixty-mile-an-hour mole/On automatic cruise control"--"Subway Driver"), and alternative format such as poetic conversation in two voices ("Ventriloquist" and "Morning Talk-Show Hosts") show youngsters that poetry can take many forms. Bloch's digital collage illustrations appear to be black-ink or marker doodles of various sizes, many filled in with color and others enhanced with wrinkled paper, yarn, plastic eyes, bits of cloth, or realia mentioned in the accompanying poems. Their bright colors; odd little details; and, in some instances, childlike appearance add tremendous appeal to the selections. This finely crafted, entertaining volume should find a place in most collections.--Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, Ohio

[Page 149]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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