Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Zack, You're Acting Zany!

Lovers of Shel Silverstein will appreciate the poetic wit of Marty Nystrom’s Zack, You’re Acting Zany! This book, a follow up to Nystrom’s popular Don’t Mess with Moses, is a collection of 120 wacky poems based on New Testament stories and themes. Nystrom’s goal is to do more than make kids laugh; he wants them to look into God’s word. That’s why each poem also includes a quip and a scripture reference. Here is an example called Never Too Old: “Great-great-grandma’s ninety-seven/ Great-great-grandpa’s ninety-nine/ But when God looks down from Heaven/ He still says, “They’re kids of mine!” Then Nystrom provides a quip and a verse to go with the poem: We are children of God. 1 John 5:19.

Sometimes Nystrom tells the whole story. Other times he gives an introductory tidbit and leaves the reader with the task of uncovering the rest of the story. For example, in a poem called Charades, Nystrom says, “Poor ol’ Zacharias/ He cannot speak a word./ He’s trying hard to tell us/ what he saw and what he heard./ He flaps his arms/ like outstretched wings/ it really looks absurd./ Why’s the guy so tongue-tied/ just because he saw a bird.?” And he follows up with “What did Zacharias see and hear? Find out in Luke 1.”

What I Like: I think the book’s bright and whimsical illustrations are a perfect fit for the rollicking poems. I also like that the poems are not only humorous, but they can serve as a springboard to talk about New Testament stories. It gives people of all ages a fun new way to explore the Bible.

What I Dislike: Nothing

Overall Rating: Excellent

Age Appeal: The publisher lists ages 9-12, but I think the book appeals to younger kids as well. It would also be an excellent school resource.

Publisher Info: Standard Publishing, 2010; ISBN:9780784721933; Hardback, 192 PGS., $17.99.

Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $13.99
OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $12.62.

Special info Read a CCBR review for another book by this author.

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