FICTION

A Rocketful of Space Poems

, ed. illus. by Korky Paul. 32p. Frances Lincoln. Feb. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781847804860.
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Gr 4–6—Whimsy and wordplay are the highlights of this slim volume of space verse that features the collected talents of Judith Nicholls, Max Fatchen, Penny Dolan, and many more. Much of the humor arises from imagining Earth situations translated to outer space, with texting aliens and garage sales offering antimatter mints and Martian red hair rinse. J. Patrick Lewis notes that it will take the family sedan 134 days to drive to the moon, assuming "no skyway patrolmen out cruising for speeders." Long lines of hungry creatures wait for fast-food takeout from Greasy Peter Pluto's. A lazy cow scoffs at the nursery rhyme notion that she jumps over the moon; instead she insists on a stablelike rocket ship along with a space-suited dairymaid. The former planet Pluto is the subject of good-natured ribbing, and the punch line of a limerick depends on familiarity with British soccer teams. Sports fans may smile (or groan) at the lengthy list of rules for intergalactic squibble-ball, which concludes: "The decisions of all ninety-six referees are final." Colorful cartoon illustrations mostly complement the silly goings-on; there are plenty of rockets and googly-eyed space creatures with multiple appendages, tentacles, horns, and so forth.
VERDICT Accessible if unmemorable, this is a supplemental purchase for large poetry collections.

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