________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 22. . . .February 8, 2013


Who Farted? Stories in Verse for Big & Little Kids.

Neil Crone. Drawings by Wes Tyrell.
Barrie, ON: Echo Books/Wintertickle Press, 2012.
86 pp., trade pbk., $15.95.
ISBN 978-1-894813-56-3.

Subject Headings:
Children's poetry, Canadian (English).

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Myra Junyk.

** /4



Who farted? Who farted?
Say who cut the cheese?
Who started the stink that is blowin' in the breeze?
Who shooted the toot that brought me to my knees?
Can't somebody tell me, oh please!


Neil Crone, a Canadian actor and comedian, has turned his attention to writing "stories in verse for big & little kids." In this collection of 40 poems, Crone explores childhood from a humourous perspective. He deals with various trials and tribulations of daily life, such as overdue library books, aggressive dogs, nicknames, food spills, and haircuts. There are also several poems about individuals, such as Hiram the Private Pirate, Dr. Prentice (the Mouse's Dentist), and Narrative Ned.

internal art     The title of this book, based on the poem "Who Farted?", will definitely appeal to those who enjoy toilet humour. In this poem, Crone uses invented versions of common words such as "shooted" for "shot." Even though these words conform to his rhyme scheme, it is an unfortunate use of language in a world where technology often encourages young people to ignore correct grammar and spelling. Should poetry ignore it as well? Many of the poems also resort to insulting language for comic effect. In "Nick Name," some of the "neat" names include "Stinky feet," "Putty Nose," and "Boogers Thompson." The title of the poem appears as "Nickname" in the Table of Contents, but as "Nick Name" in the text. Which one is correct? Wes Tyrell's illustrations appear in black and white, but they add little graphic appeal to the text because they are simplistic and flat in tone.

      There are a few poems which stand out. "The Thing in Gramma's Cellar" describes a child's fear of the "monster or a mummy or a ghoul" living in Gramma's basement. Young readers will definitely be able to relate to this poem. "Bob the Basement Blob" revisits this topic from the perspective of the unknown creature. "Charlie" is a short but touching poem about the death of Kevin's pet dog. Kevin speaks to God about how Charlie should be treated in heaven. "Was there a Shark on Noah's Ark?" asks interesting questions about the interactions between Noah's animals.

      Perhaps the most problematic poems in this collection are based on individuals. In "Hiram The Private Pirate," Crone needs 14 long and wordy stanzas to tell the story of a "wimpy" pirate named Hiram.

There just like you'd think, when the night was like ink Old Hiram was jumped by surprise. When they came to get him, poor Hiram just let 'um 'cause he'd just put his drops in his eyes.

     Once again, the title of this poem appears as "Hiram the Private Pirate" in the Table of Contents, but as "Hiram The Private Pirate" in the text. Which one is correct? "Handsome Hank" tells the story of a tractor with "good looks" in 12 long stanzas. Would readers really be interested in a pompous tractor?

      Neil Crone is best known for his television appearances on Little Mosque on the Prairie and Really Me?. His collection of poems would have definitely been improved with more thorough editing to eliminate errors and wordiness and to limit the number of poems which would actually appeal to children.

Recommended with reservations.

Myra Junyk, a literacy advocate and author, resides in Toronto, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364
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