What can you do if your friends have all gone off to play without you? Don't despair! Loris Lesynski's new book of poetry, Nothing Beats a Pizza, has all kind of fun things to do by yourself or with a group. Once again, Lesynski gives us a clever, laugh-out-loud collection of poetry, complete with humorous and wacky illustrations. Lesynski is a master at making poetry come alive. On the title page, she encourages kids to dive into the book. "Oh no, POEMS!!!" screeches a child. "Wait a minute. WAIT A MINUTE. Maybe something GOOD is in it!" responds another. And he is right, there is lots that's good in itý meant to be read aloud and with pizzazz, as the author suggests. From the loving "Once Upon a Time-ee-o", to the more cynical, "Bad Mood Blues", which demands to be sung with accompanying blues guitar, these poems cover a wide range of activities and emotions. And, of course, dogs. We meet Ruby, the bouncing puppy, and, instead of the dirty dog that romped through her last book, we have a nice clean dog who has a boogie of his very own. Lesynski also gives the reader lots of ways to make up new poems. "Leaves" can inspire a similar poem about pizzas. And here is something fun to try: "Backwards Me, Backwards You" instructs the reader to write her own name backwards and write a description for that person. Pizza is the running theme throughout the book. Why pizza? The author says that she is in love with "zzzz-zy sounds like these." So eat a pizza, read a poem and write your own. There is no end to the fun!
Mary Anne Cree is the Junior School Librarian at The Bishop Strachan School in Toronto and a partner in MaryContrary Associates