Make Magic! Do Good! is a book of poetry written and illustrated by Dallas Clayton. The short poems in the book run the gamut of subjects, from friendship and musicians to the "happy birthday" song and a moose. The prepub copy I read called Clayton's work similar to that of Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein; when you're likened to two greats in cheeky children's poetry, I expect some silly, witty, and well-structured poems.
While Clayton's poems work, they are not as tightly edited as those of the best children's poets. There is a fair amount of slant rhyme, some awkward pacing, and lines with too many or too few syllables--but then, none of these admittedly picky issues detracts that much from the overall imagery of the poetry. The subjects of the poems are definitely goofy and sometimes even irreverent, always aspects that appeal to young readers, although the final lines don't always have as much punch as they could. That said, it's not like falling somewhere short of Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein is necessarily a bad thing. Those two operated at the tip-top of the children's poetry universe, and it takes a lot to reach their level.
The variety and tone of poems in Make Magic! Do Good!, as well as the really cutesy and fun illustrations throughout, will likely make this book of poetry interesting to kids who enjoy silly poems. I'll be including it in poetry displays for sure.
Make Magic! Do Good! will be released by Candlewick Press on November 13, 2012.