CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 39. . . .June 10, 2016
According to its cover, Zoomberry is the new board book by “Canada’s Father Goose,” Dennis Lee. It is an illustrated poem suitable for readers (or listeners) aged one through four—and the jacket copy promises it will be “a bedtime treat for children and parents alike.” Presumably this is because it boasts “Lee’s beloved, rollicking style.”
Unfortunately, Zoomberry adds little to the board book repertoire. A short rhyme about a wizard who helps children to fly, its subject is predictable, and its style is generic. Arguably this is due to Lee’s own impressive legacy as a children’s poet. His work has made him a hard act to follow, and now that the market is crowded with excellent children’s poetry and board books of exceptional quality, he’ll need to do more than drop a few cute end rhymes to maintain his rank.
Fans and collectors will want to invest in a copy of Zoomberry. Buyers with limited purchasing budgets can give it a pass.
Michelle Superle is an Assistant Professor at the University of the Fraser Valley where she teaches children’s literature and creative writing courses. She has served twice as a judge for the TD Award for Canadian Children’s Literature and is the author of Black Dog, Dream Dog and Contemporary, English-language Indian Children’s Literature (Routledge, 2011).
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