Animal Poems

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 ...

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

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

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.)

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374380571
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 3/20/2007
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 500,501
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: NPL (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.69 (w) x 8.78 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

VALERIE WORTH (1933-1994) is the author of many books for children, including All the Small Poems and Fourteen More and Peacock and Other Poems, which appeared on Fanfare, The Horn Book's Honor List, and was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. STEVE JENKINS has written and illustrated many picture books, including Actual Size and the Caldecott Honor Book What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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