Nothing Rhymes with Orange

With big smiles plastered on their faces, an apple and a pear invite the reader into Adam Rex's (School's First Day of School) Nothing Rhymes with Orange, asking who "wouldn't travel anywhere/ to get an apple or a pear?" More happy, anthropomorphized fruits join in on the fun: a banana surfs by, waving at a plum and a Speedo-clad peach. "Hey, are you guys going to need me for this book?" asks the orange from the corner of the page, "[j]ust wanted you to know I'm available in case something comes up."

Knowing full well that nothing rhymes with him, the orange sulks as the pages become more and more packed. A "lychee" joins the cast, rhyming with "peachy" and, eventually, "Friedrich Nietzsche" ("FRUCHT!"). The rhyme scheme stretches, becoming ever more forced in an attempt to fit in all the fruit: "If a pear gets lost at night/ and meets a wolf, who takes a bite,/ then does that pear become a pearwolf when the moon is full and bright?"

At this point, the orange has had it ("This book's sorta gone off the rails. I'm glad I'm not a part of it."). But when a grape in a cape flies by and ties the pearwolf to a chair, the morose orange moans, "Oh, who am I kidding... this book is amazing." Rex's photo collage illustrations are bold and silly, all the fruits bursting with personality. The orange is a sympathetic character, and the illustration of his eventual inclusion is an ending readers are sure to visit time and again. Whether read aloud or solo, the bright illustrations, funny rhymes and happy ending make this a thoroughly enjoyable story. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

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