Nothing Rhymes with Orange is Adam Rex's first authored and illustrated picture book since 2014. In the last three years he has illustrated books written by Neil Gaiman and Mac Barnett and written books illustrated by Christian Robinson and Scott Campbell. And, while I love everything that Rex does, especially his middle grade novels like The True Meaning of Smekday (which the movie Home was very loosely based on), I am happy to see his sense of humor on display in both the words and illustrations of this new picture book.
As a kid, I remember being so amused and amazed to learn that there were a handful of words in the English language for which there is no rhyming match. Rex takes this factoid to the next level, anthropomorphizing collaged photographs of fruit by inking facial features, arms and legs on them, then letting them take center stage.
Singing rhyming songs about themselves and the wonderful things you can do with all the fruits, Orange is in the wings making comments and trying to fit in and be needed. In a rare and admirably hilarious move, Rex works a German philosopher into the text with this gem of a rhyme, "I think cherries are "the berries' and a lychee is just peachy. Thus Spoke Zarathustra is a book by Friedrich Nietzsche." A collaged photo of Nietzsche holding his own book accompanies the words with Orange, again off the to side, exclaiming disdain over ridiculous rhyme. As the book nears an end and Orange's pique is at its peak, an empathetic fruit has a solution that is both funny and satisfying. The design of Nothing Rhymes with Orange is superb, adding to the marvelous illustrations, and the bookcase is a special treat. Nothing Rhymes with Orange is, without a doubt, a picture book that kids and adults will never forget reading!
Source: Review Copy