friday feast: happy birthday, jack prelutsky!

Hippo Cupcake via Dot’s Treats

In honor of Jack Prelutsky’s 72nd birthday tomorrow, I’m serving up a few sample poems from his latest collection, I’ve Lost My Hippopotamus (Greenwillow, 2012)which is brimming with 100+ chewy, crunchy, wacky, hilarious mostly animalish examples of vintage Prelutsky word-play, portmanteaux, and cheeky invites to experience a world where imagination reigns supreme.


Though I was quite taken with, “My Weasels Have the Measles,” could easily identify with the narrator of, “I Cannot Sleep a Wink Tonight,” wouldn’t mind meeting the “Wiguanas,” and am totally convinced Prelutsky used me as the model for “Especially Serious Sam,” guess which poems I like the best?

Well, the food poems! *gasp*

Shocking, I know.

Troll illo by Jackie Urbanovic

There’s a skating potato! And a strange vegetable with a working nose! And you can knit napkins with noodles!

For today’s feast, 3 foodie faves, along with fabulous ink drawings created by the New York Times bestselling author/ illustrator of the Max the Duck PB series, Jackie Urbanovic, whom I affectionately call, “Ms. Quack.” (You gotta see the little laughing duck on the pre-title page. A.d.o.r.a.b.l.e.)

Got your bibs on? Here’s Jack and Jackie!


I’m very fond of cupcakes
And love to eat them up,
But I’ve never found a cupcake
That came inside a cup.

* * *



My brother has a habit
He’s been practicing for years.
He takes a pair of French fries
And sticks them in his ears.
He won’t say why he does it,
And may not even know.
It’s just a thing my brother’s done
Since very long ago.

It’s slightly gross, it’s silly,
And obviously strange,
But once you have a habit
It’s difficult to change.
He’s lately added something
Even grosser, I suppose —
He also takes two French fries
And puts them in his nose.

* * *



Mister Snoffle made a waffle,
But the waffle turned out awful.
It was such an awful waffle
He refused to eat a bite.
Mister Snoffle, looking woeful,
Said, “This waffle is so awful
That it ought to be unlawful,
Now I’ll make a waffle right.”

Mister Snoffle was unruffled
As he made another waffle
Which was not the least bit awful . . .
For a waffle it was fine.
Mister Snoffle was more careful
In the crafting of this waffle,
And he laughed, “I’m feeling gleeful,
My new waffle is divine.”

* * *

I don’t know about you, but rather than put my french fries in my ears or my nose, I like them (love them) in my mouth! Go ahead and nibble on these:

The best fries I’ve ever had in my life were in Brussels. Didn’t learn til years later that french fries supposedly originated in Belgium. You get them in a paper cone and top them with mayo and curry-ketchup. A meal in itself! (via Ash226)

And of course we must have some divine waffles courtesy of Mr. Snoffle:

Overnight Yeast Waffles

Pick up a copy (better than picking your nose) of I’ve Lost My Hippopotamus soon. You’ll thoroughly enjoy wacky Jack and Jackie’s foray into the absurd. Haven’t you always wanted to juggle bowling balls?

♥Apropos of something, when Jack was singing in Greenwich Village coffeehouses back in the late 60’s, he met and befriended Bob Dylan *pitter patter swoon*. ♥

Happy Birthday, Jack!

* * *

written by Jack Prelutsky
illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic
published by Greenwillow Books, March 2012
Poetry for ages 5+, 144 pp.
*Includes Indices of Titles and First Lines
*Starred Review* from Publishers Weekly

* * *

♥ Check out this interview with Jack and Kenn Nesbitt at Poetry4Kids, where Jack talks a little about this new book.

Browse inside the book at the publisher’s website.

* * *

Lovely and talented Katya at Write.Sketch.Repeat is hosting today’s Roundup. Wonder if she likes waffles, french fries, or hippo cupcakes best?

Over and out.


*Spreads posted by permission, text copyright © 2012 Jack Prelutsky, illustrations © 2012 Jackie Urbanovic, published by Greenwillow Books. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

27 thoughts on “friday feast: happy birthday, jack prelutsky!

  1. What a wonderful way to start the day! Happy Birthday to Jack Prelutsky. Thanks for the yummy poetry mini-feast, Jama, paired with this equally delicious art by Jackie Urbanovik. And I ‘m going to look for ways today to use the word “portmanteau”… .


  2. I have to tell. My son did similar things with french fries, when very young of course. I guess the ‘sticks’ just seem like toys. I think some, like Jack Prelutsky, just look at things from children’s eyes, don’t they? These are so funny, & fun, & the rhyming will make everyone want to memorize, especially Mr. Snoffle’s waffles! Thanks, Jama.


    1. Oho! I suppose french fries in the nose (also peas) are a lot more common than we’d like to admit. I had to smile at your admission, making sure to tell us your son was very young at the time.


  3. When I started reading poetry to my kids at home and at school, Jack Prelutsky was one of the poets I turned to day after day. Thirty years later, I still have some of those poems tumbling around in my head. I wish for him, on his 72nd birthday, good health, much happiness and the need to keep writing his wonderful poems….and we will keep reading them whenever we get the chance!


    1. Prelutsky is standard fare when it comes to children’s poetry. I was actually surprised to learn he was only 72 — seems he’s been around longer. I supposed his work is so ubiquitous that it gives one that feeling.


  4. Such a joyful post! And there’s no one better to celebrate food and poetry than you, Jama! Thank you for this bright spot in my day – and for bringing all of those fabulous Jack Prelutsky poems to my ears. I want a waffle divine! Happy birthday, Jack! We parents and teachers (and children inside) are grateful to you! a.


  5. My favorite children’s humor poet is still Shel Silverstein, but I do appreciate Jack Prelutsky’s prolific contributions as well.

    Btw, we were in DC over Labor Day weekend and I got to
    a) see Julia Child’s kitchen in the Smithsonian’s history museum and
    b) eat a cupcake from Georgetown Cupcake (which somebody else bought – I didn’t go to the bakery and stand in line). Red Velvet. Yummy, although I’m not sure I saw what all the fuss was about. It was delicious, yes, although not over-the-top-OMG that I was somehow expecting.

    Still, both of those experiences made me think of you, in a happy way. 🙂 It was like your blog come to life.


    1. Happy to hear you enjoyed DC! I know what you mean about GC’s red velvet. Next time you need to try the Chocolate Ganache. Weren’t the cupcakes also smaller than you expected? I’d like to go back again sometime, but the long lines usually keep me away.


      1. Yes, smaller, but that’s not necessarily bad – then we can have two! 😉 (Since somebody else bought the cupcakes, I have no idea how much they cost, but I suspect it’s a lot, given the size of the cupcake.)

        One of the varieties we could pick from was a white cupcake with a chocolate ganache frosting. Two people who had it (at least one of whom was a child) said the ganache was too rich for them. I didn’t get to taste, so I don’t know if I would necessarily have agreed.


  6. Jack Prelutsky’s one of my biggest inspirations (along with Shel Silverstein). Happy Birthday, Mr. Prelutsky! Jama, thanks for highlighting him this poetry friday!


  7. We are such BIG fans of Scranimals – my 9 year old’s ‘first favorite’ book of poetry! Happy Birthday Mr. Prelutsky!


  8. I met Jack Prelutsky many, many years ago when he was doing a book signing in a tiny indie bookstore in East Lansing. He was one of the sweetest nicest men I have ever met. He must have been on a long tour because he was sitting at the table happily chatting with everyone in his stocking feet. I just bought this new title last weekend. I’ll definitely have to read it tonight. Thanks for your cheery post as always, Jama.


  9. How wonderful to think of Jack Prelutsky being a friend of Bob Dylan! And now you and Mr. Jack have me salivating over waffles. I might have to have one for breakfast tomorrow!


  10. Such a beautiful tribute to Jack Prelutsky (whom I lovelovelove). As per usual, I am salivating over the food photos here – I’m big on breakfast, and I love me wafflez! But those fries, oohlala, so rich and so good! Will take note of this if and when I do visit Brussels. 🙂


  11. I needed a Sunday afternoon smile, so I came here. I wasn’t disappointed!

    I should have remembered that I would end up drooling, too…dinner’s not for an hour and those Belgian fries…oh, be still my heart and cholesterol!! I do love them with mayo!!

    Happy Birthday, Mr. P.!! Thank you for a great post, Jama!


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