Prelutsky, Jack. Ill, by Paul O. Zelinsky. 2001. Awful Ogre's Awful Day. New York: Grennwillow Books. ISBN: 0688077781
This collection of poems introduce readers to Awful Ogre's world. Through the 18 poems, readers are taken from the beginning to the end of Awful Ogre's awful day. Awful Ogre encounters many situations like dancing, eating, writing a letter, and talking to neighbors that readers themselves experience except his day has an "awful" twist.
This book is a hit for boys (and those girls) who love gross stuff! The collection starts with a bang in "Awful Ogre Rises." Readers get a clear mental picture of Awful Ogre who is awakened by his rattle snacks. Lines like "My rats attack me as I rise but scatter when I roar" and "I tickle my piranha who rewards me with a bite" give readers a clear picture of this strange Ogre's life. However, the bizarreness of his morning awakening makes the reader want to turn the page.
The book is cleverly written with phrases like "Scream of Wheat" and "You're truly perfection, demure and petite, just fourteen-foot-four from your head to your feet." The final poem "Awful Ogre's Awful Dream" cleverly contradicts the normal view of a great day by having Ogre end his day with a nightmare where "The sun's an orange circle, and the sky's a brilliant blue. Bees are buzzing busily, and roses show their blooms."
The illustrations for this book definitely add to the book. The pictures accompanying the poem "Awful Ogre's Breakfast" perfectly illustrate the poem. As Awful Ogre feasts on Scream of Wheat, the picture shows an open, screaming mouth inside the bowl as Awful Ogre is smiling happily at his meal. The picture for "Awful Ogre Speaks of Stature" is definitely in touch with the young boy readers as the picture shows Awful Ogre's snot dripping out of his nose onto the small elves and gnomes who are calling him grotesque. Talk about payback!
My three-year-old nephew did not want me to read the book to him. He grabbed it and immediately began talking about the pictures, making up his own story! My seven-year-old niece asked me if she could read it on her own. On the sticky note I gave her, she wrote,"I think he's weird, disgusting, and lazy." (The spelling was changed for the blog!)
Publishers Weekly: "Prelutsky uncorks his latest collection of light verse, a divinely wretched celebration of subversity. Every detail of Awful Ogre's day offers possibility for gross-outs, from sunup ("I flick aside the lizard/ Clinging grimly to my chin,/ And now I feel I'm ready/ For my morning to begin") to sundown (a sly swat at Goodnight Moon as Awful Ogre drifts off to sleep with "Good night to furtive spiders/ That lurk in murky wells./ Good night to loathsome vermin/ With nauseating smells")."Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.5. Connections:
This book would be a good one to read to the class to get them to enjoy the book. Through out this module, we as students have learned that many people don't enjoy poetry and seem intimidated by it. Reading a fun collection like this is sure to get students, especially boys, engaged in poetry. They may even be inspired to write a poem themselves!