Shel Silverstein, has come up some unforgettable new characters: Runny Babbit and his friends Toe Jurtle, Skertie Gunk, Rirty Dat, Dungry Hog, Snerry Jake, and many others in ">

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Shel Silverstein

Illustrator: Shel Silverstein

HarperCollins Children's Books

Recommended for:
ages 7-12

Compact Disc

Number of Pages: 96

Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook

Cover Image     From Publishers Weekly:

In what may be the definitive book of letter-reversal wordplay, late author-illustrator Silverstein (Where the Sidewalk Ends) composes poems about cottontail Runny Babbit. He illustrates the verse in his signature devil-may-care ink line on bare white pages, and performs letter switcheroos to the point of reader exhaustion. An introductory poem explains the technique: "If you say, `Let's bead a rook/ That's billy as can se,'/ You're talking Runny Babbit talk/ Just like mim and he."

The exchange of consonants results in a new language, producing Lewis Carroll nonsense or placing familiar words in skewed contexts; for instance, Runny's family includes "A sother and two bristers,/ A dummy and a mad," which says a lot about parents. Runny also has an untidy porcine friend, leading him to sing a serenade with an Edward Learish zest and a classic Silverstein twist at the end, "Oh Ploppy Sig, oh pessy mig,/ Oh dilthy firty swine,/ Whoever thought your room would be/ As mig a bess as mine?" Signs posted on Runny's wall remind him, "tick up your poys," "peed your fet" and "bon't delch"; a restaurant serves "dot hogs" and "boast reef."

Silverstein also revises ditties such as "Dankee Yoodle" and runs roughshod over politeness ("Stand back! I'm Killy the Bid,/ And I'm fookin' for a light!"). Move over Hinky-Pink: this is sure to become the new classroom wordgame favorite. Silverstein's many fans will snap up this extended set of more than 40 puzzlepoems.

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