Poetry Friday -- review: Scarum Fair
Scarum Fair by Jessica Swaim. Illustrated by Carol Ashley. Wordsong, 2010 (978-1-59078-590-4) $17.95
Welcome NOT to Scarum Fair, where the devil's food cake is served by real devils, the Scary-Go-Round never lets you off and the Crocodile Slide will cost you an arm and a leg. This collection of verse is an entertaining parody of county fairs that will appeal to readers who enjoy puns: the sax player in the Sleeping Dead Band de-composes, competition is stiff in the coffin race, bad luck often strikes those who ride the Rattler Coaster. Dark illustrations, heavy on gruesome green, combine genuine creepiness with a touch of cute, to help keep the scariness on the silly side.
None of the poems really stood out for me, except the appealing randomness and hint of intrigue in "The Palm Reader":
"Your garden will die," Madame says with a frown,
You could have a green thumb if you'd just knuckle down."
She closes The Hand, and she gives it a squeeze.
"You owe me ten bucks and a slice of swiss cheese."
The Hand waves goodbye as it exists the booth
with a fistful of lies and a pinch of the truth.
Other than that, it's an easy read aloud with general kid appeal, though perhaps less accessible to those who aren't familiar with fairs. (6 & up)
© 2010 Wendy E. Betts
FTC disclosure: Review copy provided by the publisher. This blog is completely independent, but I receive a small percentage if you order books from Powell's via this site.