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." Copyright 2009 BookPage Reviews.
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.
Library Media Connection Reviews 2009 August/September
J. Patrick Lewis? books are always entertaining, because he uses whimsical verse to entertain and inform his readers. This new book does not disappoint. This title provides an overview of a number of jobs for young children to explore. Some jobs may be well known, such as librarian, exterminator, garbage collector, and plumber. There are many jobs the author includes that young readers might find unusual, such as elevator operator, bathroom attendant, and underwear salesman. Each job description is written in verse and is accompanied by a cartoon relating to the job. Some pictures are colorful while some are simple sketches. Each picture adds to the meaning of the job. Some verses are written as shape poetry. The language is simple yet clever. Most of the cute descriptions clearly explain the job to children. Lewis uses language to engage and educate the young reader. I especially enjoyed the verse about the librarian. I recommend this book for any elementary school library. Recommended. Marilyn Teicher, Library Media Specialist, P.S. 86, Bronx, New York ¬ 2009 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
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.
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.