Sunday, August 12, 2007

Animal Poems, by Valerie Worth

Illus. by Steve Jenkins

Selected posthumously, this collection of poems are all about animals familiar to most children for example the porcupine, snake, and gorilla. The poetry makes amazing use of language and imagery to portray the familiar in surprising and unfamiliar ways: a snail's house includes a spiral stairwell; a penguin is "cheerful as a housecat"; and the hummingbird, "flew like a spark from the earliest star." Each poem has its own doublespread with striking cut paper illustrations offset with plenty of white space.

Grades 3 up


Brucie said...

I feel curmudgeonly to say anything bad about this lovely book, but who is the audience? It looks deceptively simple, and Publishers Weekly says Pre-K and up. I think these are sophisticated poems that are beyond the scope of many elementary age students. And most of them, at least in my eyes, have a dark edge to them. If Worth died in 1994, where have these poems been? I'd like to know more about the creation of the book. I used Worth's poetry extensively in middle school, but I'm just not sure about these offerings.

bullarc said...

I will second this collection of Valerie Worth's poems, creatively illustrated by Steve Jenkins. I agree that some of the poems are beyond the scope of most elementary students, but several are not. I have third graders who would enjoy the challenge of listening for similes and metaphors that appear throughout. Jenkins' cleverly crafted illustrations may serve to hook a young audience and the poems may help them to look at these creatures in a new way.