Picks and Pans Review: Madam I'm Adam and Other Palindromes

updated 03/07/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/07/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

Written by William Irvine;
Illustrated by Steven Guarnaccia

Short of training newts to fetch or learning to whittle chess pieces out of potatoes, it's hard to think of a less useful human pursuit than searching out palindromes—words or phrases that say the same thing read backward as they do forward. Irvine and Guarnaccia, both free-lancers, do raise this pastime as close to an art form as it is likely to get. How to surpass, say, "A slut nixes sex in Tulsa." True, things like "Sis, sargasso moss a grass is" seem to be a stretch. But this slim collection suggests that this business is not as easy as it looks. One might perhaps even say "Wow." (Scribner's, paper, $5.95)

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