Playing With Words

from by Zoobean Curator Andrea M.

One of my aunts always tells the story of finding me in a corner reading by myself at family gatherings. And that’s kind of how I remember things myself. I loved stories and being immersed in different times and places. I spent so much time reading my parents wouldn’t ground me from TV, they would ground me from leisure reading. Of course, that’s when I discovered books-on-tape. As I got older, I began to love words themselves and the way different languages used their words. But I never loved punctuation—sorry Mrs. Buffington.  

So here are our favorite fun-with-words books: 


Head and shoulders above the rest is Bubble Trouble by Margaret Mahy. I almost didn’t curate this book because I worried parents would find the text too much trouble for their tongues, but one or two read-throughs is all you need to get into the swing of things. It opens: 

Little Mabel blew a bubble, and it caused a lot of trouble…/  Such a lot of bubble trouble in a bibble-bobble way./  For it broke away from Mabel as it bobbed across the table,/  where it bobbled over Baby and it wafted him away.

After a while, the words just feel good in your mouth.  



Actor John Lithgow has written a number of children’s books and is running on all cylinders with Micawber. Micawber is a Central Park squirrel who hitches a ride home with a young art student while at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Using the far reaches of the English lexicon, Lithgow rhymes his way through the squirrel’s excited transformation from art appreciator to art creator. 



Usually when I curate books, I’m looking for books that my kids love and I love too. That’s true for Science Verse; it’s just that we might love the book for different reasons. Jon Sciezka has re-written poems like “The Song of Hiawatha” or “Casey at the Bat” for science-nerdery which of course my children don’t get. But since Sciezka maintains the poems’ original meters and rhymes and Lane Smith’s illustrations are suitable quirky, it’s still quite enjoyable for them.