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Dirt on My Shirt

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Jeff Foxworthy is one of the most respected and successful comedians in the country. He is the largest-selling comedy-recording artist in history, a multiple Grammy® Award nominee, and bestselling author of more than twenty-six books. He hosts the hit television show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader.

Steve Bjorkman has illustrated nearly one hundred picture books, including the New York Times bestseller Dirt on My Shirt by Jeff Foxworthy. He has also sold millions of greeting cards through Recycled Paper Greetings with his brother, Carl. Steve lives with his wife in Irvine, California.

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The bestselling author of You Might Be a Redneck If... and the host of the TV show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? turns his hand to versifying with this innocuous collection of rhyming poems about ordinary childhood experiences: "I like to play and splash and sing/ When I take my bath/ But it's the bubbles that I make myself/ That always make me laugh!" The humor stays mild-mannered and stresses the bonds of friendship and family, as in "Friends," which begins, "Friends come in all colors/ And sizes and shapes/ Friends share their jump ropes/ And friends share their grapes." Bjorkman (Aliens for Breakfast) punches up the text with plentiful illustrations in a cheery cartoon style. "Friends," for example, pairs with a picture of a grinning cat and dog, dressed up like pirates and together carrying a small treasure chest. A poem about sitting in a grandfather's lap gains interest when Bjorkman envisions it taking place in a small fishing boat, grandpa and grandson napping, a huge fish just about to bite on their line. As a bonus, a note at the front challenges readers to find the 30 creatures depicted in the book's most lavishly illustrated poem, aptly titled "What Do You See?" Ages 4-7. (Mar.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

K-Gr 2-This contribution to the celebrity canon is by no means the worst, and Foxworthy's collection of light verse courts both fans of the comedian and their children. The brief poems are perfect for rote memorization assignments and cover familiar, kid-friendly topics like lost baseball hats and bubble baths. Bjorkman's artwork peppers every page with tykes and friendly suburban wildlife in perpetual states of pop-eyed delight. Alert readers may spot a note on the verso of the title that suggests an "I Spy"-esque hunt for images in the illustrations for the poem "What Do You See?" The suggestion looks and feels like an afterthought, buried as it is in fine print amid the bibliographic data. But never mind; this is still a respectable choice. Kudos to Foxworthy for his role in the production of an appealing, easy read.-Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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