Friday, July 1, 2016

Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems (J. Patrick Lewis and Douglas Florian)

Illustrator: Jeremy Holmes

Target Ages: 3 and up

Genre: Poetry

Sample Poems:

“Hot Dog Car”
My hot dog car is lots of fun
And comes with relish on a bun.
It runs on tons of sauerkraut
Or mustard when you’ve just run out.
Enjoy its fine and fragrant smell.
Its color has no parallel.
My hot dog car—
You just can’t beat it.
And when you’re done
You simply eat it.

“Rubber-Band Car”
Bouncing, bounding down the road
Like a leaping, beeping toad.
Made from giant rubber bands
(Very pliant in your hands).
It jumps over traffic jams,
And obstructions gently rams.
It can float just like a barge,
Takes three spots in a garage.
Needs no shocks and needs no springs.
And to fly it, just add wings.
Outperforms all other cars—
One bounced all the way to Mars.

Amazon Summary:
The U.S. Children's Poet Laureate and an award-winning children's poet join their prolific forces in this picture book of poems about cars. But they're not just any cars: there's the "Sloppy-Floppy-Nonstop-Jalopy" ("So unique there is no copy"); the Bathtub Limosine ("With hot water heating / And porcelain seating"); and the "High Heel Car." Each of the thirteen quirky, inventive poems will speak directly to the imaginations of children, as will Holmes's high-concept, detail-filled illustrations. 

Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems is a fantastic collection of poems.  Children will journey under the sea (“Fish Car” and “Eel-ectric Car”) to the land before time (“Jurassic Park(ing)” and The “Dragonwagon”) to the future (“Supersonic Ionic Car” and “23rd Century Motors”) and to nature (“Caterpillar Cab”). Many foods are also imagined into vehicles like the “Egg Car” and the “Banana Split Car.” The poems use lots of rhyme, alliteration, and puns. The authors creatively play with language. For instance, in “High-Heel Car,” the driver “wins every footrace” and “honks her shoehorn.”  In “Grass Taxi,” the owners must “mow the glass” and “check underneath [the] lawn.” The poems are quirky and entertaining.

The illustrations are intricate and amazing. Holmes takes the imaginative vision of the poets to new artistic levels. Not only are the cars otherworldly, his settings are too. In “23rd-Century Motors,” he imagines a world that is part outer space and part agrarian. A rocket is next to farmhouse.  A cow pulls a station wagon trailer. The people are wearing space helmets while the animals are not. He adds humor.  For example, the Egg Car is at a filling station getting gas from a ketchup bottle. The mechanic asks the driver what he hit (the eggs are broken). The response, “a fork in the road.”  Each 2-page spread has so much to see and to talk about. 

Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems is one of my favorite children’s collections because it is out of this world with imagination and wonder. 

Activities and Extension Ideas for Lesson Plans:
  • Art: Write one of the poems on the board or copy on a piece of blank paper.  Allow the children to draw their own version of the “car.”  Compare pictures with others' drawing and the book.  Discuss similarities and differences.
  • Building: Collect several household items and build a creative car. 
  • Writing: Pick an item (something in nature, the world, a food).  Write a poem about a car as that item. Activity can be done as a whole group, small groups, or independently.
  • Journaling: After reading one or more poems, have the children journal a response.
  • Sound Devices: Point out and discuss the various sound devices and how they make the poem more vivid.
For more great poetic posts, visit The Opposite of Indifference for the full Poetry Friday round up.


  1. This collection looks silly and fun, something my daughter would love :)

  2. I am sure she would. I hope you find a copy. :)

  3. I had a couple of boys who loved to perform poems from this book for Poetry Friday in my classroom this past year!

    1. I can see these poems appeals especially to boys. Glad they enjoyed this anthology.

  4. I will have to check this book out. Thanks for the introduction. =)

  5. I'l have to look for it. Love the Jalopy rhyming. I read Firefly July with my daughter, and we loved it. Some of it was over her head, though, and she's 7. I may have to get a copy just for me. Melissa Sweet did an outstanding job.


Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belphré

Title:  Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belphré Author :   Anika Aldamuy Denise Illustrator :    ...