Author and Illustrator: Dorianne Allister Winkler
Dorianne Allister Winkler, author of Pukey Poetry: Tale Ticklers by Mz Millipede resides in the colorful island of Kauai, Hawaii where she shares her art studio with a mixed bag of colorful insects and animals and as she notes in her bio, it is not surprising that she has penned a book about a magical millipede.
Poetry and whimsical images abound in this stunning debut picture book as we enjoy the magical world of Mz Millipede who acquaints us with her many funky friends that inhabit her space. By the way, as pointed out, she is not your average millipede as she enjoys making herself small while frequently changing colors or suddenly growing tall. She spends her time in a warm and friendly house painting in her art room while composing tales that rhyme.
Using a format consisting of mostly free-verse poetry, amusing word play as well as vibrant rich illustrations, that are a feast for the eyes filling the pages with color and activity, readers learn about a host of eccentric creatures and imaginary characters.
As it turns out, Mz Millipede spins quite a collection of fanciful yarns that “will make you squirm with tales so strange you will confirm that nowhere have you ever read such stories filled with mirth and dread.” The poems are carefully crafted to draw young and old inside Mz Millipede's magical visions.
In “Skink and Skouse”we read about a skink that lives under her house and is her very best friend. It is black and white with a long bushy tale that he loves her to brush without end. Skink is polite, will never bite and if he wishes to speak, he lets us a squeak and look up with his cute beady eyes. We are also told that skink is half skunk and half mouse and is treated with the utmost respect for if she slips up and hurt his feelings, there is a smell that she can never forget. What about “Froogley Man” who hides under her bed and comes alive when the light goes out? He growls unless he is fed and loves to eat kid's feet. And then there is the little plant that grew so large that it became “The Green-Eyed Giant.” And I almost forgot “Gaggleburps” who comes from the alien race that hang green spaghetti from their face. These are just a small selection of the rollicking goofy characters that inhabit the world of Mz Millipede.
When you stop to think about it, childhood is a time when our imaginations run wild, and for this reason, children of all ages will adore this book. I might also add that even children who consider themselves too mature for picture books will want to read this one. By the way, as a neat little bonus, the book makes a great teaching aid to initiate classroom conversations about using our imaginations in blending poetry with art.
Winkler mentions in the Dedication of her book that the book would never have come about without her mother's unending encouragement as well as that of her husband's and friends' belief in her artistic pursuits. I guess we likewise owe thanks to all of these people for having the opportunity to experience such a delightful read and I look forward to hearing more from Dorianne.