FROM THE CRITICS
The man behind the Words Are Categorical series (A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What Is a Noun?, etc.) here introduces puns gallore via homophones and homonyms in Rhyme & Punishment: Adventures in Wordplay by Brian P. Cleary, illus. by J.P. Sandy, divided into categories such as music or animals. ("When salmon I go fishing,/ we horse around and play./ Then eel always end up lion/ 'bout the ones that got away.") Factoids and visual clues help to decipher the meaning of the puns. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
Following the introduction in which the author provides an explanation of a pun and how he creates them, are four sections. Each is a separate topic: music, animals, food, and geography. In case there are words that the reader might not know, Cleary has included a "pun-unciation" guide that provides a definition and how to pronounce the word. This is a helpful tool, for there will be certain music terms and perhaps countries with which some readers may be unfamiliar. Some of the puns will be simple to read. Others will take a bit more time to decipher. Playing with words and creating puns is a terrific way for children to begin to feel more comfortable with reading. With the humorous cartoon-style illustrations and one or two puns per page, this has an inviting picture-book look. The puns in the geography section will make an interesting introduction when studying other countries. There is a world map at the back of the book with a key to show where each of the mentioned countries is located. There is a bibliography of books with puns and also a list of websites. 2006, Millbrook Press, Ages 8 to 12.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-Cleary begins with an introduction that clearly defines puns and then gives various ways to decode them. The main body of the text is divided into four chapters, each of which contains roughly a dozen four-line poems related to the subject at hand. The puns are in bold print and a different color than the rest of the text, and potentially unfamiliar words are explained at the bottom of the page. Some of the selections contain expressions that may be a stretch for children ("dairy air"), but for the most part they are both amusing and get their point across, e.g., "My grandma wears a two-foot wig/that's held on with ape pin/But if you think her hair is big,/ewe otter sea urchin." Sandy's lighthearted cartoons add to the silliness, and make this a good choice for either browsers or for language-arts lessons.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business