Button Up!: Wrinkled Rhymes
Button Up!
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Alice Schertle, illus. by Petra Mathers
ISBN 9780152050504
Harcourt/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.
4 ½ stars
Keywords: alice-schertle animals button-wrinkled-rhymes clothing poems sports

Button Up!: Wrinkled Rhymes
by Alice Schertle, illus. by Petra Mathers

The clothes speak in this collection of 15 poems bound to tickle your youngsters’ fancies! The tone ranges from the cool-as-a-cucumber “Bertie’s Shoelaces,” starring a mocha-colored ferret sporting shades and a tufted purple Mohawk (“We’re hang loose laces and/ we don’t do bows!” they cry) to the high-impact “Wanda’s Swimsuit” (“Ready, set, jump!/ Scrunch up small—/ Look out down below—/ CANNONBALL!”). Your child will learn with "Violet's Hiking Hat" ("I'm taking a hike with Violet./ Violet's showing me things./ 'Hat,' says Violet, 'there's a caboose./ These are butterfly wings' "), and sing in the rain "The Song of Harvey's Galoshes" ("When it's raining Harvey always puts us on,/ puts us on,/ we're together when the sunny weather's gone,/ weather's gone").

The rhythms and rhymes vary, as do the illustrations, from vignettes that build suspense as in “Jack’s Soccer Jersey” (“I show the number, Jack does the kicks./ I’m Jack’s jersey—/ Way to go 6!”), to tranquil full-bleed, double-page paintings, like the one for “Joshua’s Jammies” as his crocodile mother carries him to bed: “We are the jammies that Joshua wears./ We don’t fit iguanas,/ we’re not for the gnu,/ we won’t suit the llamas/ (they never wear blue)./ Hippopotamus can’t get us over his head./ We’re JOSHUA’s jammies. We’re going to bed.” Then there’s the lovely nostalgic “Hand-me-down Sweatshirt”: "I started out Wendell's/ was passed down to May,/ she passed me to Karly,/ I'm Andrew's today . . .” and to pull you out of that melancholy mood, it’s followed by my favorite, and one I wish I’d had when I was teaching kindergartners, "Bill's Blue Jacket," aiding reluctant diminutive coat-wearers everywhere: "Arm in the left sleeve,/ arm in the right./ Button up! Button up! Button up/ TIGHT!" Full of surprises, perhaps a sniffle, and plenty of cheer ("Everybody clap your hands,/ everybody shout,/ Bill's got his jacket on,/ LET'S GO OUT!") this is one stellar collection of poetry.
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