Appealing to kids

A brief follow-up to yesterday’s posting “Bonus letter Z!”, about a 2007 (Steve) Martin & (Roz) Chast alphabet book, with couplets by Martin for each letter and complex full-page illustrations by Chast, both of them drunk on words. The delicious words, poured out by the dozens, are one thing attracting kids. And then there are gross bits salted here and there; Martin & Chast know their audience.

Meanwhile, this is once again a Mary, Queen of Scots, Not Dead Yet posting. I mysteriously recovered, quite dramatically, from the mysterious illness that afflicted me so terribly a little while back, only to slide into nasty disabling osteoarthritism, with the lower-body joints inflamed enough to make walking painful and the joints in both hands inflamed enough to make my poor hands almost unusable (hard to pick up my morning pills, very hard to get breakfast and clean up afterwards). So: not a whole lot of typing.

But on to more pleasant things.

Delicious words. In a torrent for each letter, with silly words, unusual words, rhymes and half-rhymes, alliteration, whatever. Plus some big, fancy words to show off, like the three boldfaced in the couplets below:

In varsity Victor was often victorious —
Sadly, his winning made him vainglorious.

Ambidextrous Alex was actually axed
For waxing, then faxing, his boss’s new slacks.

Robera the robot, resplendent in rubies,
Rehearsed her recital and sang “Rootie Tootie!”

Grossness. Starting with the Rootie Tootie (alternatively, Rooty Tooty, as IHOP now has it) in the R couplet, which lots of kids will happily recognize from its Rootie tootie, fresh and fruity fart-joke origins (the image coming from farts’ acoustic resemblance to trumpet toots or horn blasts, extended to allude also to their smell).

Then three more examples:

Excellent Edward, exceedingly picky,
Ate eggs with an eel whose earwax was icky.

Friday when Frank fixed frijoles and French fries
His fiancée Franny was covered in fruit flies.

Pedro the puppy piled poop on his paws
And Papa dog published his photo because.

Few alphabet books venture even into rotting fruit covered in flies, much less earwax, farts, and poop, but Martin & Chast go there. Because the kids.


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