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Words & Humor

Absolutely Wild - David R. Godine, Publisher

Hardcover, 32 pages
ISBN 978-1-56792-375-9
978-1-56792-375-9
2008, $17.95

Absolutely Wild
poems by Dennis Webster
woodcuts by Kim Webster Cunningham

The publisher first saw Kim Cunningham's artwork - and her father Dennis Webster's clever and witty poetry - at an  exhibition of New Hampshire artists in Peterborough. With bookcases brimming over with alphabet, animal, nonsense, and every other kind of children's book, it takes a lot to impress Mr. Godine. This work did.

The verses by Cunningham's father, a New York copywriter, are original, catchy, and sophisticated (or as sophisticated as you can get writing about vultures, gibbons, giraffes, and gnus). Here's just a sample of Webster's ode to the yak:

"A shaggy species is the yak
With hairy front and hairy back.
It isn't very hard to spot him
With hairy top and hairy bottom
He doesn't mind that he's so shaggy
If he wore pants, he'd like them baggy
His coat's a frightful mess, and yet
You'd dress as he does, in Tibet."

If you are intrigued by the exotic, the colorful, the sublimely ridiculous, or the reductively sublime, this is a book to tickle your tail feathers.