Quick: Name the date for International Cephalopod Awareness Day.

What? You didn’t know there was a holiday for cephalopods? You’re not altogether sure what a cephalopod is? Shame on you!

Obviously, you’re in dire need of this month-by-month paean to little-known but hilarious holidays. Begin with “Happy Mew Year for Cats Day” on Jan. 2nd, a little ditty that invites readers to “play loud mewsic/ Spin a yarn,/ Join the party in the barn.” Trundle right on through the remainder of the months (skipping only August) to an ode honoring the best holiday of all, “Chocolate-Covered Anything Day” on Dec. 16, when readers are invited to partake of chocolate-covered ants: “You start with that ant mandible — / Completely understandable —/ A chocolate jaw has never tasted sweeter.” These 26 selections (May 12, “Limerick Day,” includes five) will tickle the funny bones of even those who are poem-phobic. Coupling the words of Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis with the loosely composed cartoons of Anna Raff ramps up the fun. Everywhere you look, there’s one more raffish rat doing nonsensical (and occasionally naughty) things.

Still wondering about those pesky cephalopods? You’ve got plenty of time to prepare for a slimy, slithery and slightly oscular Oct. 8 celebration by learning to chant, “I wish I was an octopus/ In inky-dinky weather./ Then you and I could octopush/ Our suction cups together.”

Kristi Elle Jemtegaard

”World Rat Day: Poems About Real Holidays You've Never Heard Of” by J. Patrick Lewis and Anna Raff. (Candlewick)


Poems About Real Holidays You’ve Never Heard Of

By J. Patrick Lewis

Illustrated by Anna Raff

Candlewick, $15.99. Ages 5-9