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Jon Agee's Palindrome Books

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In 1991 – a palindromic year, of course – Jon Agee published the first in this series of three books, Go Hang a Salami! I'm a Lasagna Hog! and Other Palindromes. It contains over sixty of his trademark black and white illustrations, each accompanied by a witty palindromic caption. Some are as simple as "No, son", although Agee's humorous drawings make these just as funny as the more impressively lengthy ones like "Mr. Owl ate my metal worm," reproduced below.


© Jon Agee, 1991

His follow-up book, again with a reversible title (So Many Dynamos! and Other Palindromes), was published in 1996. Another sixty-odd pictures enhancing as many palindromic captions fill its pages. But these are not the only palindromes to be found between the covers of these books. Agee has even gone to the trouble to ensure that the ISBNs and prices are also palindromes!

The spring of 1999 saw the addition of yet another title to this collection. Entitled Sit On a Potato Pan, Otis! More Palindromes, the write-up in the dust jacket makes no overstatement when it claims these to be illustrations that are "his wackiest and wittiest yet." One of my favourite depicts an apple, a banana, and a lemon standing in front of a large billboard announcing the winner of the "Fruit of the Year" competition. "NO WAY A PAPAYA WON!" exclaims the disgruntled apple.

This drawing also comes from this most recent of Agee's titles.


© Jon Agee, 1999

The response from the press has come in varying degrees of reversibility, but all with great enthusiasm. "Wow!" said the Associated Press simply, "Agee... has taken the palindrome and elevated it into an art form." The Bulletin of the Centre for Children's Books captures the spirit of these books with the phrase "inspired lunacy." The Los Angeles Times gave this review containing their own palindromic offering: "Worth its price... 'Sue us! ' if you don't think so." And a New York Times critic asks "Is this genius or what? It certainly is megapuckishness."

These three titles are all available through Fun-with-words.com partner Amazon Books. They say laughter is the best medicine, so why not give it a try? Here's three doses of some of the best laughter-inducing medicine around.

NEW TITLE! Since this review was written, Agee has released a fourth compendium of illustrated palindromes, entitled Palindromania! In a slight departure in style from previous offerings, much of this book comprises amusing strip cartoons. But as always Agee's palindromes are brilliant. More on Palindromania!

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