Children’s Poet Laureate Monthly Book Picks

Each month, the Children’s Poet Laureate recommends a book of poetry for children. Selections include classics of children’s literature, adult collections that are well-suited to children, as well as newly published books.

Hypnotize a Tiger: Poems About Just About Everything

Kenn Nesbitt’s March 2015 Book Pick

Hypnotize a Tiger: Poems About Just About Everything

by Calef Brown

Henry Holt and Co March 2015

Author/illustrator Calef Brown is back with his most ambitious poetry collection to date. Hypnotize a Tiger: Poems About Just About Everything contains 84 poems -- not including clever poetic footnotes and jokes on most pages, and a 7-page “Q&A with Calef Brown” in verse at the end of the book – spanning over 140 pages.

But what most impresses is not the size of this collection, but the consistently imaginative absurdity of the poems. Hypnotize a Tiger is populated by possibly the craziest cast of characters and creatures ever to grace a middle-grade poetry collection. Brown revels in wordplay with a unique poetic voice that is as instantly recognizable as it is fun. Combined with his trademark silly illustrations, one has a sense of having fallen down a particularly surreal rabbit hole, embarking on a journey through a bizarre and fascinating land.

Kids will want to finish this entire book in a single sitting, but will also find that it rewards return visits and repeating readings.

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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