The Wonder Book
by Amy Rosenthal, illustrated by Paul Schmid

HarperCollins Children's, 2010. ISBN 978-0-061-42974-3.
Reviewed by Judy Miller
Posted on 06/13/2010

Younger Readers; Poetry

"I wonder who left something under the tooth fairy's pillow when she was little..."

Amy Rosenthal does a great job holding the attention of a child, and doing so at the child's level. There is something to be discovered on every page. She hooked my eight-year-old son and ten-year-old daughter on the first page with "Pancake College," an ode to the pancake cookin' dad. We've one in our household, so this delighted my kids.

The most popular composition in my household was "A Rose by Any Name," a poem about farting in a myriad of languages. The topic of passing bodily gasses is always a delight with any child. This poem had my kids' full attention and they had me reread passages several times, while they kept laughing—only pausing to try the new words themselves.

The Wonder Book is reminiscent of Shel Silvertein, with more quirkiness, and has a little bit of everything: word games, poems, stories, and palindromes (words or phrases that read the same backwards and forwards). I viewed the unnumbered pages as an incentive to hunt through the book, and there was a treasure on every page.

Paul Schmid's stick-like line drawings are reminiscent of a child's and add to the charm of this whimsical and fun book. They are detailed enough to capture the essence of expression, but not enough to get in the way of Rosenthal's mastery.

Ages: Preschool through 3rd grade

Amy Krouse Rosenthal broke convention with her 2005 memoir Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. The book was praised everywhere from NPR to CNN for its unique format as well as its witty and universal insights on what the author refers to as "the ordinary stuff of daily life." Amazon named it a top 10 memoir of 2005. To date, Amy has also published eleven children's books, with 7 more on the way. Amy lives online on her blog and for real in Chicago with her husband and children.

Paul Schmid is a fourth-generation artist. He has been honored by the Society of Illustrators, Communications Arts Magazine, and Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. He lives in Seattle with his wife and daughter. The Wonder Book is his first children's picture book. Visit his website.

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