Christy Ottaviano Books / Henry Holt 2015
Winner of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Honor Award
Winner of the Lion & Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry
An NEA Educator Recommended Book
“Full of absurdity and off-kilter musings, Brown's collection offers a zingy introduction to the silly side of poetry.”
“The best books can take you to places you never knew existed. Hypnotize a Tiger will blast you there on a Skyscraper Rocket with imaginary companions, herds of wordplay, and a giant smile. Calef Brown is the surreal deal.”
― Kenn Nesbit, U.S. Children's Poet Laureate
“Brown is a superb craftsman, with jazzy rhythms that get your whole body moving and a gift for embedded rhymes”
― The Horn Book
“Brown makes great use of wordplay, and the staccato syllables make the poems fun to read aloud. Little ones who enjoy funny verse will be tickled by this title.”
“There were certain books that fascinated and excited me as a child. I read them over and over, and they changed my perceptions forever. This is a book like that. It makes a delightful playground of language and concept. Calef Brown is a hero. He is a bulwark against mediocrity. He is my hero too.”
― Daniel Pinkwater
“With witty poems combined with his amazing paintings, Calef Brown has made his distinct mark in the history of American culture as a true literary treasure.”
― Dan Santat, Caldicott award-winning author and illustrator
“In your hands you hold a very special book. Get ready to meet a spectacular and hilarious cast of delightfully goofy and whimsical characters that live in each of these delicious poems. Calef Brown has made me feel like a mustached baby tasting sugar for the first time!”
―Jorge R. Gutierrez, director of "The Book of Life" and creator (with wife Sandra Equihua) of "El Tigre, The Adventures of Manny Rivera"
This collection delivers a smorgasbord of Brown's trademark nonsensical poems. Broken into sections by theme such as "The Critterverse," "Schoolishness," and "Word Crashes," the selections depict an offbeat world where dinosaurs barbecue "titanic taters" and ghoulish gym teachers make kids play "dodgebull… with actual cattle." The poems bounce and jump from one topic to the next with sometimes satirical, always silly, word play running along the page bottoms. Brown's stylized, folk artsy illustrations evoke just the right mood for the zany verse. Though there is more than one line that does not roll easily off the tongue and awkward rhymes abound, it is easy to see this clumsiness as part of the spirit of the collection. From the poems themselves to the illustrations to the tongue-in-cheek interview with Brown at the book's close, it's clear that this is a collection that doesn't take itself too seriously. For libraries seeking something silly, especially where Brown's poems are already a hit.
– School Library Journal
Fun knows no bounds in this collection of over 80 zany poems and accompanying mixed-media illustrations, topped off by the author’s Q-and-A written almost entirely in verse. Younger children will enjoy poring over Brown’s detailed, silly drawings of animals, insects and imagined objects and hearing the tight, surprising end rhymes that bind many of the poems (a delightful pairing of “speedometer” with “vomiter” in the poem “Carsick” comes to mind). Middle-grade readers will likely revel in the sophisticated wordplay Brown employs to depict the humorous perspectives offered throughout, particularly those of less-savory creatures. A vulture laments, “This is my diet? / If it died, I try it?” Soon-to-be butterflies complain, “Just because we’re pupae, / people give us the poop-eye.” And then there’s the ho-hum fate of lice: “I would hate to be a louse— / always feeling lousy, / even when overjoyed / or pleasantly drowsy.” Successful, too, are moments where poem and illustration work hand in hand to pun, as in the poem “Hugh”—“Meet my Belgian friend. / He lives near Bruges, on a farm. / His name is Hugh Jarm”—illustrated with farmer Hugh waving one giant arm in greeting. With verse and illustrations running the gamut from creative to kooky and occasionally gross, kids should devour this entertaining collection in one sitting.
– Kirkus Reviews