Lewis, J. Patrick. Doodle Dandies: Poems That Take Shape. Ill. by Lisa Desimini. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998. ISBN: 068981075X
Doodle Dandies are all about shape! Each poem by Lewis is skillfully crafted in words and design to form a picture of the poem’s subject. In the two-page spread of “Mirror”, there is a mirror image of both the words of the poem and the illustration on the second page. “Mirror” begins, “You looking out/at me looking in-/I am an I-/dentical twin!” Some of the poems are simple, such as “The Turtle/is a giant hurdle”. To enhance the meaning, there is an ant drawn with the words that curve up over the illustration of a turtle.
This collection of poetry is appropriate for preschool and elementary kids. Although, some of the lines may be challenging for young readers to follow (because of the shape); persistence will be rewarded with fun verse. The title, Doodle Dandies, and cover design (each letter in the title are illustrated differently and it appears that letters are raining down on a girl holding an umbrella) will make kids inquisitive to what’s inside. Once inside, children’s attention will be held as every poem is something of interest or familiar. There are poems about animals, an umbrella, sports, space, and more. Every page gives the eye something interesting. The mixed-media illustrations by Lisa Desimini provide bold pictures and the poems are in shapes (i.e. a dachshund) or along the illustrations (on the legs of swimmers and along the pool water). I think these elements working together provide added entertainment for readers. I couldn’t wait to see the next poem.
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY: “…this mix of clever language and visual delights makes a dandy treat for all ages.”
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL: “Doodle Dandies captures the joy that wordplay can bring. It deserves a place on every library shelf.”
HORN BOOK MAGAZINE: “Through fanciful design and illustration, these poems take both shape and flight as they soar through the imaginative landscape.”
There are a variety of books by Lewis that can be used alongside science and social studies units for all ages.
*Simon’s Book by Henrik Drescher ISBN: 9780688020859. Use along with Doodle Dandies to discuss “doodles”.
*The endpapers of Doodle Dandies feature doodles that appear to have been drawn by children. Use this book and others to discuss the art in endpapers, making comparisons and contrasts.