Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Read this book aloud

If you're a big fan of the works of Dr. Seuss, then you'll surely appreciate Robert Paul Weston's wonderful children's book, Zorgamazoo. It's a fictional work that is entirely written in verse, which I think is a feat in itself.
Here is a story
that's stanger than strange.
Before we begin you may want to arrange:

a blanket,
a cushion,
a comfortable seat,
and maybe some cocoa and something to eat. [page 3]
Zorgamazoo is about two characters, a human named Katrina and a zorgle named Morty, and how they embark on an adventure that's truly out of this world.

Weston writes about a world underneath our normal one, where strange-looking creatures live. It's a place called Zorgamazoo populated by ogres, mermaids, fairies, and other fantastical creatures. And one day, all these creatures mysteriously disappear. Morty unwillingly embarks on the quest after having his name drawn in a lottery. Katrina, on the other hand, is a girl always on the lookout for adventure. It's a mismatch ripe for many possibilities.

It becomes impossible for the reader to not go through this book in one sitting. For one, the illustrations of Victor Rivas Villa, which appear at the start of every chapter and intermittently in the inside pages, are delightful. His style is very distinct and quite appropriate for children.

I also think that the publisher made it a point to vary the typefaces used for some words, probably to avoid the monotony of having chunks of stanzas on every page. It's a very good technique, if I may say so, for it highlights some of the key words in the story. Katrina's name for example, when it appears in full in the text, is written in large classic serif type.

Of course, the main reason a lot of people would love this book is Weston's witty verse. There's a pleasant rhythm when you read the stanzas aloud. There's never an awkward nor a contrived line. Everything works perfectly. This is a book that you read to your children as you tuck them in bed.

And you better be careful when you take this book somewhere public like in a bus or the library. You won't be able to stop yourself from reading Weston's fabulous verse out loud.

Read this book if:
  1. You love reading text that rhymes.
  2. You're always on the lookout for wonderful debut fiction.
  3. You can't get enough of reading books aloud.


martine said...

sounds fabulous
thanks for sharing

Jadina said...

SOUNDS INTERESTING! I love the way it was written, i should definitely check it out! I have a new book review up on my blog as well!

Please check out my blog and FOLLOW! I would be happy to return the favor!


Jack said...

Good morning (?) Peter. Haven't encountered Zorgamazoo yet, but it sounds like a hoot! In a similar vein, if you can get your hands on "There are Rocks in my Sox (Said the Ox to the Fox)" by Patricia Thomas, that's another read-aloud that my kids (mid-30's) still remember for the nonsensical tongue twisting situations this poor ox gets into by listening to the advise of his friend, the fox. It is, sadly, out of print, though Amazon.com can get it for a price, but a trip to your local library may net you a read. It so worth it, and of course, if you're ever called upon to read to a group of small children, you'll find it indispensible...

Peter S. said...

Hello, Martine! You're welcome!

Hi, Jadina! It is fabulous!

Hello, Jack! Too bad the book's out of print, but maybe I can find an electronic copy online. I'll Google. Thanks for the recommendation, Jack!