Really Rotten Rhymes

A word of warning: this is not a book for the squeamish. If you baulk at references to bodily functions, then you will be doing a lot of flinching as you leaf through this book. But the child beside you will probably be revelling in the rude rhymes. There are many references to toilets and the things that happen in them, or should happen in them, but don’t. There’s a boy who blows his nose in a tea towel as he dries the dishes, a child who peels off sunburned skin and eats it, a boy who is a champion burper. And there’s a poem called Puke, which needs no explanation. Snot, and the things you can do with it, makes several appearances in the collection of fifty-five poems.

The rhymes are well-served by the mischievous and vivid artwork from Cork illustrator Alice Coleman. The author and poet Gabriel Fitzmaurice clearly delights in revolting his young readers. In the introduction, he recalls the fun he had with naughty and cool street rhymes as a child. He hopes these rhymes will hold a similar appeal for today’s children. ‘Lewd, crude and rude, or deliciously disgusting? They are both, I hope,’ he writes with a wink.