From the Publisher
“This stunning collection will encourage readers to become careful observers, and to make the world of nature their own.” Starred, Publishers Weekly
“Vivid imagery and an expert command of sound and meter distinguish this collection of poems about animals.” Starred, Booklist
“Will resonate with poetry lovers, but should also open doors for those who feel daunted by poetry.” Starred, School Library Journal, April 2007
“The works of Valerie Worth stand out as quiet portraits capturing the essence of the most ordinary subjects.” Book Links, March 2007
“Impressive and regal.” The Horn Book, May / June 2007
“The cut-paper illustrations are as rich in detail and color as the poetry they accompany.” Kiwi Magazine
Vivid imagery and an expert command of sound and meter distinguish this collection of poems about animals.
March 2007 Book Links
The works of Valerie Worth stand out as quiet portraits capturing the essence of the most ordinary subjects.
May / June 2007 The Horn Book
Impressive and regal.
The cut-paper illustrations are as rich in detail and color as the poetry they accompany.
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.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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.