Review of My Head Has a Bellyache: And More Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups

My Head Has a Bellyache: And More Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-UpsMy Head Has a Bellyache: And More Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups
by Chris Harris; illus. by Andrea Tsurumi
Primary, Intermediate    Little, Brown    192 pp.
7/23    9780316592598    $19.99
e-book ed.  9780316566179    $9.99

“Mint-chip ice cream (so fantastic!), / ­Key-lime taffy (so elastic!), / Bags of all-green jelly beans… / Every day I eat my greens!” Come for the funny poems; stay because there’s so much to pore over that you can’t put this collection down. Harris follows up I’m Just No Good at Rhyming (rev. 11/17, illustrated by Lane Smith) withanother meta extravaganza. There are intrusions from, ostensibly, Harris’s own children, including a “­book-within-a-book.” There’s the threat of a meteor heading for the pages, which pays off just when you’ve forgotten about it. Poems appear in footnotes, in the glossary, and spread out among the folios (page 65: “When one becomes senior (traditionally)” / ­page 66: “A famous old route that’s from song and TV”). The green and grayscale digital illustrations are often a critical part of the action, as in the poem where snakes are ignoring their duty to serve as the letter S, with hilarious results. (A few poems are more sincere than silly, providing a chance to catch your breath.) Don’t miss the back matter, including but not limited to an index by subject (e.g., “Eek! There’s a bug!” and “Paper, with some ink on it”) and a “partial list” of “­non-books by ­neither Chris Harris nor Andrea ­Tsurumi,” which includes tricycles, ­Belgium, and Toy Story 2.

From the July/August 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, associate editor of The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in writing for children from Simmons University. She has served on the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and Sydney Taylor Book Award committees.

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