Another Review at MyShelf.Com

I’m Just No Good at Rhyming
And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups
by Chris Harris
Illustrated by Lane Smith
Read by Robert Petkoff, Chris Harris, Cassandra Morris, Lane Smith

Hachette Audio
March 2018/ ISBN ASIN: B07BMC19TM
Children’s Poetry – Audiobook – Unabridged / 1 hour and 46 minutes, PDF included)

Reviewed by  Leslie C. Halpern


This audiobook for children (which includes a PDF of accompanying illustrations) contains a grab bag of short humor, most of which is rhymed verse, although additional material falls into the category of unrhymed gags, jokes, and general silliness. Although the suggested age range is 7-10 years, some of the juvenile humor will appeal to younger children and some of the more nuanced pieces and sophisticated words will entertain an older audience.

The varied subjects, styles, and reading levels of individual pieces make this an odd assortment that provides a hit-or-miss approach to humor, i.e., there’s probably something for everyone in this book, but the subjectivity of humor and the diversity in this collection mean that probably everyone will not like something, too. The author, a comedy television writer, frequently enlists a “metafiction” style that breaks the fourth wall, so to speak. This self-conscious style (where the poet playfully criticizes the illustrator or gets irritated with another reader or “improvises” while skipping over poems because they don’t translate well into an audiobook) will surely delight young readers unfamiliar with this technique.

The element of surprise also plays a part in the rhyme schemes. Sometimes there’s perfect rhyme, near rhyme, slant rhyme, or no rhyme. From page to page and piece to piece, readers will never know what’s coming next. Narrated by Robert Petkoff with Chris Harris, Cassandra Morris, and Lane Smith, the voices are highly animated and easily understood. Occasional instructions direct readers to consult the PDF for essential illustrations to understand the piece.

Repetition is another part of the author’s humor, as in the poem “Avocado,” which is offered as an easy poem to memorize for class. The “poem” merely repeats the same word using various intonations. The author also surprises readers with the unexpected. In the title poem, readers expect an obvious rhyming word, but never hear the word they anticipate. While many topics are random, other poems address subjects specifically of interest to children, such as performing chores like making the bed each morning.

Combing subjects and styles, different types of humor, exciting narration, and vibrant illustrations included on the PDF, this audiobook should keep children engaged and amused for the entire 106 minutes.

Reviewed 2018