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The Underwear Salesman: And Other Jobs for Better or Verse    by J. Patrick Lewis & Serge Bloch order for
Underwear Salesman
by J. Patrick Lewis
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

Every child has been asked, 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' There are, of course, a myriad of choices, many of which are featured in this clever book of poetry. You could be a librarian, a mapmaker, a highway line painter, a banana picker, a crossword puzzle maker, a baby chick inspector, an astronomer, or even a bubble bath tester.

If being a butcher's your thing, you'll like this poem (represented by a knife-wielding pig):
'I'm a guy
Named Sloppy Joe
In my prime
Rib (as you know).
My eye is round,
My butt is lean,
I operate a

Want to be an exterminator?
'I come to de-bug
What's under de rug.

How about a sword swallower?
'Two rules sword swallowers follow
That normally follow a swallow:

Look up to the ceiling.
Ignore your gut feeling.

While I am quite familiar with the poetry of Jack Prelutsky, this is the first time I have read the poetry of J. Patrick Lewis, and I hope it is not my last. His verses are humorous and highly creative. Lovers of language will appreciate the play on words that flow through many of the poems, although younger children will not necessarily understand all of the nuances.

The illustrations are exaggerated and wacky, combining regular line drawings with what appear to be photographs of real objects. The book is a delight and is a recommended choice. Another newly released book of poetry about work is Steady Hands: Poems about Work by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer.

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