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Book Reviews

Nothing Beats a Pizza

by Loris Lesynski

Poet/illustrator Loris Lesynski knows children, fun food, and good poetry. Nothing Beats a Pizza, her second collection of verse, serves up 34 delectable poems for children to munch on, mull over, and, as the intro persuasively suggests, read aloud:
“A poem said inside your head
or only read in silence – that’s
like leaving all these poems
stuck in cages.
But read aloud, with noises,
made by you, the girls and boyses –
then you’ll hear them leap right off
the pages.”
And there’s plenty on each well-designed page to engage children. The coloured pencil and watercolour illustrations are as silly as the rollicking, frolicking poems they complement. Interspersed throughout the text are micro-poems and speech-bubble commentaries from a cast of supporting characters that children will seek out. But the real treat is the poetry itself. In the poem “Pizza Theme & Variations,” Lesynski gives instructions for topping a witch’s pizza as well as the methodology involved in creating a fiery dragon pie. We also learn why Jack (of beanstalk fame) failed as a pizza delivery boy and what might have happened if Goldilocks had sampled pizza instead of porridge. This whimsical readiness to reinvent stories and poems helps readers realize how words can be bent for creative ends. Teachers will find this collection an enjoyable tool for introducing students to poetry and self-expression.
“If Nothing Beats a Pizza
makes you hungry for your own,
if you want to write a story,
if you want to write a poem,
then play with words and say with words
what’s shaking in your mind.
Imagination makes the writing really fun to find.”
Nothing Beats a Pizza is a collection of children’s rhymes that invites readers not only to savour words, but to whip up their own poetic concoctions.