Animal Poems
  • Animal Poems
  • Animal Poems
  • Animal Poems
  • Animal Poems
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Animal Poems

by Steve Jenkins, Valerie Worth
     
 

"Ms. Worth brilliantly employs all aspects of the poet's craft." - The New York Times Book Review

Each of the exquisite twenty-three poems in this posthumous collection by Valerie Worth carefully distinguishes one animal from all other creatures and captures it in all of its wonderful singularity - from wasp to snake to wren. The way Worth perfectly

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Overview

"Ms. Worth brilliantly employs all aspects of the poet's craft." - The New York Times Book Review

Each of the exquisite twenty-three poems in this posthumous collection by Valerie Worth carefully distinguishes one animal from all other creatures and captures it in all of its wonderful singularity - from wasp to snake to wren. The way Worth perfectly illuminates the uniqueness of each animal in her precise and elegant free verse will delight both fans of her celebrated Small Poems and readers encountering her poetry for the first time.

Breathtakingly rich cut-paper illustrations by Steve Jenkins provide a perfect counterpoint to Worth's spare style, and together poetry and picture bring every animal vividly to life.

Animal Poems is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This pairing of the late Worth's exquisite poems with Jenkins's (What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?) extraordinary, cut-paper illustrations make this a volume to treasure. Characteristic of the best of Worth's work, each poem in this handsome volume is a gem—full of crisp language, vivid images and thoughtful ideas. A keen observer, Worth captures not only the look of each animal she describes, but grounds her remarks with wise perceptions about the world both animals and humans inhabit. Camels "stand/ About munching and belching/ Like smug old maids/ Remembering their ancient/ Sway, when bearded/ Traders sailed them over/ The starry sand-waves." Jenkins's illustration portrays the subject as sloe-eyed and stately. His artwork, as textured as oil paintings, contains astonishing shadow and depth. Serrated paper edges resemble a squirrel's warming fur as "late autumn rains/ Fall colder than snow." The transparent tentacles of a jellyfish appear to undulate, "their hollow/ Veils and/ Trailed clappers/ Peal eternal/ Knells, for/ Valleys drowned/ And flooded hills." Jenkins features each animal silhouetted against a solid background (often cream or undersea blue), so that poem and illustration do not compete for attention but, rather, they work together to startle readers with their exactitude. Describing a spider's web, Worth comments, "The spider weaves it,/ .../ But at dawn, when/ It hangs spangled/ With silver water, frail/ .../ it is not/ Her web, but ours." This stunning collection will encourage readers to become careful observers, and to make the world of nature their own. Ages 4-up. (Apr.)

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Children's Literature - Laura Ruttig
Worth's captivating, concise lyricism is perfectly balanced by Jenkins' sparsely, wonderful, paper-cut illustrations in this picture book. Worth's verse is simply fantastic, perfect for reading aloud. Her flawless use of imagery describes each animal in the collection and uses a combination of alliteration and metaphor in a free verse format. I also love Jenkins' choice of plain backgrounds and multidimensional imagery, similar in style to Eric Carle's or Lois Ehlert's. From the slight fuzziness of the bear and camel to the individually-cut needles of the porcupine, the paper-cuts masterfully convey the author's image of each animal, whether it is as playful as the groundhog or as mysterious as the jellyfish. Although the vocabulary of the text is very advanced for young readers, the sound of the words and the way the images flow over one another have the power to inspire readers and writers of all ages. The familiarity of the subject matter should also help, as most young readers will already have some acquaintance with snails, whales, kangaroos, etc. Regardless, this refreshing collection is a must-have for poetry lovers of all ages.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374380571
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
03/20/2007
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
531,590
Product dimensions:
8.69(w) x 8.78(h) x 0.42(d)
Lexile:
NP (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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