October 11, 2012
Last Laughs by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jeffrey Stewart Timmins
A great choice for Halloween but it comes with a warning — yes, the format of this fun volume is 100% picture book but don’t let that fool you. This is not suited to your preschool pink puff and butterfly crowd. Lewis and Yolen’s endeavor is for an older picture book crowd, a slightly jaded crowd with an undeniable pull toward slightly macabre, dark humor.
These are, after all, humorous animal epitaphs. My favorite absolutely must be read aloud.
Mourning a Dove
go, wing . . .
From the delightfully short to the devilishly long, Lewis and Yolen have dug up a host of epitaphs, odes to animals long gone but not forgotten. Why did the chicken cross the road? Why was he a little horse? All of these questions will be answered and more.
An excellent choice for the older child who still loves Halloween and even for reluctant readers. Even with the longer poems, the text is brief. The illustrations by Timmins are delightfully grim and sure to draw in those who delight in the offbeat and slightly off putting. If you catch yourself chastising your son for one gross joke after another, present him with a book that celebrates his gruesome outlook on life and death even if this collection is more fun than frightening.