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*The World's Greatest: Poems* by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Keith Graves
Also by J. Patrick Lewis:

Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems

The Fantastic 5 and 10 Cent Store: A Rebus Adventure

Kindergarten Cat

Wing Nuts: Screwy Haiku

Black Cat Bone: The Life of Blues Legend Robert Johnson

Also written and/or illustrated by Keith Graves:

Chicken Big
The World's Greatest: Poems
by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Keith Graves
Ages 4-8 36 pages Chronicle January 2008 Hardcover    

With J. Patrick Lewis’s poetry and Keith Graves’ illustrations, it’s easy to imagine the tallest Christmas tree. In their book The World's Greatest: Poems, they put the reader in the seat of the tallest roller coaster, reveal the substance that stops the world’s talkingest bird from saying words, and the contents of the world’s smallest American newspaper. Primarily taken from various editions of The Guinness Book of World Records, the twenty-five records selected for this book have been inserted with humor and rhyme, turning them into poetry that is fun to read.

Below the title of each poem are one to two lines of facts - dates, places, or names - pertaining to each record. Additional facts can also be found within the poems. For example, it’s not until you read the poem "The Shortest Street" that you find out the actual length of the shortest street, and in the poem entitled "The Stone Skipping Record," the record number of stone skips can only be discovered by looking at the first letter in each sentence. Some poems, like "The Biggest Potato" and "The Biggest Pumpkin," contain no additional facts other than what is located under the title, but they contain witty plays on words or interesting thoughts and observations inspired by the record.

There are actual world records for the kookiest hat, the longest time a message was in a bottle at sea, and the tallest scarecrow. The author took these records, along with twenty-two others, and turned them into humorous poems. The facts are there, but now they can be read in a fun way. All twenty-five poems can be read in one sitting or shared one at a time in a classroom or library program. The one to two poems per page are short in length and amusingly illustrated. When children recite these poems, they will find the words easily rolling off their tongue.

Rendered in acrylic paints and colored pencils, the cartoon-like illustrations add humor and sometimes clarity to each poem. Children will chuckle at the painfully silly expression on the man’s face who has a spoonful of scorpions in his mouth, and at the man tipping his fried-egg hat as he walks down Elgin Street. For children not familiar with plate-spinning, Keith Graves’s illustrations for the poem "The Most Plates Spinning" will show children just what it means.

Born in Indiana, J. Patrick Lewis has written over fifty-five books for children, including The Bookworm’s Feast: A Potluck of Poems, Doodle Dandies: Poems that Take Shape, and Once Upon a Tomb: Gravely Humorous Poems. His poems have appeared in many magazines including Cricket, Spider, Chickadee and Odyssey. He lives in Ohio with his family.

Keith Graves is the author and illustrator of the books Frank was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance, Pet Boy, and Three Nasty Gnarlies. His illustrations can be found in the children’s picture books Too Many Frogs, Moo Who?, and Armadillo Tattletale. He lives with his family in Texas.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2008 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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