Name That Book

h1 October 29th, 2009 by jules


(Click to enlarge spread.)

I’ll be back next week with a continuation of this post, the Men of Children’s Lit and What They’re Up to Now (my unofficial title). Instead, I’m making a quick art-and-poetry stop today with some spreads from J. Patrick Lewis’ new title, Spot the Plot: A Riddle Book of Book Riddles, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger (Chronicle Books, August 2009). Lewis, on each page, is riddling us, quizzing children—and children’s lit aficionados—on children’s titles: “Her hair’s the stairs,” pictured above, is my favorite one. With answers listed in the back, you’ve got Charles Perrault’s Cinderella; Charlotte’s Web (“Do you know this spider, / this spiderweb writer?…”); Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio (“Toy / boy / cries, / lies. / Nose / grows.”); and Doreen Cronin’s Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (“No bedding? No butter. / No blankets? No udder.”)… Plus much more. This is for delighting and challenging the bookworm children in your lives. Or riddle-lovers. (Hey, I live with a five-year-old, learning the art of knock-knock jokes and riddles. It’s painful sometimes. She’s even fond now of saying “Get it? DOUBLE GET IT?!” for jokes that are hardly jokes. Ah, it’s a challenge, this learning-of-wordplay. She’ll get there.)

Munsinger’s watercolors—featuring two children, dressed as detectives, on the hunt for answers—are warm and inviting. And a perfect match for the light-hearted fun of the title. In a clever move (hey, can you blame ‘em?) on the part of author or illustrator or editor (I just dunno), one of the riddled titles is Helen Lester’s Tacky the Penguin, illustrated by Munsinger herself. Perhaps the inclusion of that riddled title is Lewis’ own homage to Munsinger’s work.

Here are two more spreads. Enjoy. Find the nearest child and quiz away:


“Imagine a castle / without any towers, / or a thundercloud bursting / without any showers. / Now imagine a bull / who loved only flowers. / One day he went wild / (The cause: a bee sting!) / So they brought him to fight / matadors in the ring. / Instead he sat smelling / the flowers of spring. / You can’t make a bull / always follow the herd. / The very idea is / completely absurd.”
(Click to enlarge spread.)


“The sky shook, / the wind tossed / me in the air. / Toto-ly lost, / I came upon / three strangers. We / kept each other / company. / Adventures followed / without pause, / and it was all, well, / just bec-Oz.”
(Click to enlarge spread.)

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SPOT THE PLOT: A RIDDLE BOOK OF BOOK RIDDLES. Copyright © 2009 by J. Patrick Lewis. Illustrations © 2009 by Lynn Munsinger. Published by Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA. All rights reserved.

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6 comments to “Name That Book”

  1. Now see, this book would have made me feel utterly inadequate as a little kid. Of the riddles you cited, I did okay, like, now — but I’m pretty sure a lot of them would have gone right over my head even by the time I got to college. (I was reading, Lord knows, just very spottily in kids’ books. (Yes, I know. Way too serious.))

    Just out of curiosity, does the copyright and/or acknowledgments page for a book like this need to list particular editions of OLD books referred to, as well as the new ones? (Er, assuming some acknowledgment does need to be made, even if not exactly quoting from the other books.)

    “Get it? DOUBLE GET IT?!” for jokes that are hardly jokes. Ah, it’s a challenge, this learning-of-wordplay. She’ll get there.

    Ha! She may be pretty much already there, unwittingly, on the evidence of that “DOUBLE GET IT?” Sounds like a very useful shorthand for, “Don’t patronize me if you really don’t understand — TELL ME.” :)


  2. This is such a fantastic book! I love that some of them are really easy, while other answers are a little more…elusive. I would have adored hunting down the answers when I was a kid.

    My default pic (which may appear with this comment, I’m not sure, but it’s bigger here:
    http://www.laurasalas.com/aboutme.html) is me having fallen asleep while reading a giant yellow riddle book. I carried that thing around like a blanket for two years, I think!

    Go, Pat!


  3. FERDINAND! Oh, how cool is this?? I think this would have really challenged me as a kid — I can see it being fun in a classroom setting, but I don’t know if I knew enough “classics” to have found the answers. I spent a lot of time holding the page upside down when reading the comics because I couldn’t ever figure out the the little Fox detective mysteries, even though the hints were quite broad. Still – I would have enjoyed trying, I think, and getting a few.


  4. Love it! How do I manage to find money for other things when I keep discovering more and more books to buy??


  5. I adore Ferdinand!

    Looks and sounds like a very cute book.


  6. I NEED Spot the Plot NOW. I could totally USE THAT IN PROGRAMS. Like Library Club. The Library Club kids would love something like that. (Their favorite game is “Booktionary,” which is Pictionary with book titles.)


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