IT’S RAINING PIGS AND
NOODLES is a collection of over one hundred poems written by Jack Prelutsky. There is no information given on the author;
however, Prelutsky is a very popular children’s poetry writer. His name would be familiar to anyone who was interested
in current children’s writers. There is no table of contents nor any means of organizing such a great lot of poems.
They’re simply there one after the other, mostly short, always funny; and they make you want to turn the page to find
the next one. There is an index of titles as well as an index of first lines; so if you remember either of those, at least
you have a chance of finding a favorite poem again.
The drawings are by James
Stevenson, who has illustrated many of Prelutsky’s books. They are “scribble” ink drawings filled in with
a watercolor wash. All have been printed in black and white. There are usually several of these drawings on each page, giving
a visual picture of the whimsical animals and scenes mentioned in the poems.
Children love poems that
are heavily rhymed and straightforward in meaning (Tunnell & Jacobs 2004). All of the poems in this book fit that description.
Prelutsky writes poems with humor and nonsense, which holds immense appeal to young readers. His topics are about everyday
things that children think about (i.e., “My Brother is Totally Bonkers” and “You Can’t Make Me Eat
That”) and about fantastical things that they might dream about (i.e., “I Chased a Dragon Through the Woods”
and “I’m Being Abducted by Aliens”).
This book was nominated for
several awards, including the 2003 Prairie Pasque Award and the 2003 Beehive Children’s Poetry Book. It was the 2001
ABC Children’s Booksellers Choices Award. The National Parenting Publication gave it their Gold Award and said in their
plays with the language and encourages readers to revel in the game. Puns, jokes, wordplay and shape play, wit, silliness,
slapstick, and joy abound. Some of the poems are about people, some are about animals. And some are about things that never
were (and that one hopes never will be). Be warned: Read a poem once and you will love it. Read it several times and it will
be part of you forever.
Prelutsky’s style is
timeless and universal; adults and children alike will be able to relate to some of them. Many of them end with a twist that
make the reader chuckle. For example, I Built a Fabulous Machine states: “I
built a fabulous machine / to keep my room completely clean. / It swept it up in nothing flat -- / has anybody seen the cat?”
And in Never Never Disagree Prelutsky says, “Never never disagree / with
a shark beneath the sea, / lest you feel a sudden crunch / and discover you are lunch.”
Several of the poems are
written in shapes that complement their subject. I Am Stuck Inside a Seashell begins
at the outside of a spiral, mimicking a seashell, with the words circling in until the last line ending in smaller and smaller
dots. I’m Caught Up in Infinity is written in a figure eight form and doesn’t
appear to begin or end.
This book is a great one
to share with children. They’ll relate to the poems, their imaginations will soar, and they’ll laugh out loud.
What a great way to “fall into” a book!
Prelutsky, Jack. 2000. IT’S RAINING PIGS AND NOODLES. San Diego: HarperCollins Children’s
Book Group. ISBN: 0-06-029195-8.
In Print [database online]. Available from http://ezproxy.twu.edu:2123/merge_shared/Details/details.asp. Accessed 02 March 05.