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?
“Oh please take me fishing, oh please, pretty please,” insisted my sister the pest. She drives me bananas when she’s at her worst, she bugs me when she’s at her best.
She wouldn’t give up, so I’ve got her along, but I’ve not decided her fate. Maybe I’ll patiently teach her to fish — maybe I’ll use her for bait!
~ from A Pizza the Size of the Sun (Greenwillow Books, 1996).
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Unlike the sister in Prelutsky’s poem, I was never a pest (*cough*), but the narrator sounds very familiar.
While my brother and Dad went fishing, I stayed home and played with my Ruthy doll and read Madeline’s Rescue. When it was time to take a picture of the day’s catch, I was only too happy to oblige. Even though I didn’t go fishing, this is still my favorite childhood picture. It hangs in our den and makes me very happy.
Newton and I spent a lot of time together growing up because we were latchkey kids. During the summer we rode our bicycles all over, bought fuzzy chicks at the carnival, tried to sell the macadamia nuts from my grandma’s tree, played marbles and ate hamburgers at Dairy Queen.