Animals That Ought to Be: Poems about Imaginary Pets

Animals That Ought to Be: Poems about Imaginary Pets

by Richard Michelson, Leonard Baskin
     
 

Caldecott Honor artist Leonard Baskin has created mysterious, sometimes eerie illustrations of 13 unheard-of animals. A red-eyed Nightlight Bird chases away shadows. There's a Channel-Changer with a hundred-button belly--and a Buscatcher for those late mornings. These inventive poems and paintings, perfect for Halloween reading, will inspire readers to dream up their…  See more details below

Overview

Caldecott Honor artist Leonard Baskin has created mysterious, sometimes eerie illustrations of 13 unheard-of animals. A red-eyed Nightlight Bird chases away shadows. There's a Channel-Changer with a hundred-button belly--and a Buscatcher for those late mornings. These inventive poems and paintings, perfect for Halloween reading, will inspire readers to dream up their own fanciful creatures. Full color.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Both imaginative and colorful, nonsensical and clever, this collection of poems nonetheless does not hit the high standard of this team's Did You Say Ghosts? Michelson's narrator loves real animalsdogs, cats, mice, "chicks and geese and pigs and sheep," you name itbut at night, he says, "fantastic creatures fill my head/ Animals you never see./ Animals that ought to be." He blithely conjures up a gallery of such creatures as the Nightnoise Gladiator, who gobbles up the "drip-drips, drip-drips" of the bathroom sink; and the Channel Changer, with his "eighty-button belly," who is "a pet beyond compare./ He surfs through the commercials/ and he never needs repair." But the cheery, effervescent tone of the verse is somewhat at odds with the formal quality of Baskin's paintings. While brilliantly executed, his monsters are static and imposing; they lack the easy playfulness of, for example, Peter Ss's illustrations in Monday's Troll or The Dragons Are Singing Tonight. In one particularly telling instance, the narrator uses the most colloquial language to explain his need for a Talkback Bat: "My brother is a big-mouth brat!.../ `a nitwit, moron, maniac.'/ That's what I'd say if I talked back"; Baskin's creature howls silently on the opposing page, like a mask in an anthropological museum. While both the poems and the art are strong, their strengths aren't always complementary. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Catherine Petrini
"Sometimes when I lie in bed/ fantastic creatures fill my head./ Animals you never see./ Animals that ought to be." Richard Michelson's wacky poems-each complete on one page-envision pets to spark any kid's imagination. "The Nightnoise Gladiator" gobbles up all those scary, annoying, or perplexing creaks and bumps in the night. "The Talkback Bat" says the things a child longs to voice but isn't allowed to. "The Nightmare Scarer" frightens away bad dreams. "The Backpack Snacker" eats homework, providing a legitimate excuse for that missing book report. These and eight other charming creatures are the subjects of irresistible poems and colorful watercolor paintings. Kids will love reading or being read to from this giggle-inducing collection.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-5Fourteen illustrated, rhyming poems address children's fears, concerns, and everyday problems through imagination and fantasy. The "Nightnoise Gladiator," "Roombroom," "Backpack Snacker," and "Channel Changer" are clever, while others, such as the "Talkback Bat" and "Sweeteater," are more harsh and threatening. Baskin's full-page watercolor illustrations of each creature are rendered in deep tones and set against stark white backgrounds, giving even the more lighthearted selections a rather somber and slightly menacing air. The collection is aimed at an audience that is still combating nighttime fears while facing dilemmas such as lost remote controls and missing homework. A fanciful presentation.Diane Nunn, Richard E. Byrd Elementary School, Glen Rock, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
A collection of 14 jaunty poems about unusual pets, for "sometimes when I lie in bed/fantastic creatures fill my head./Animals you never see./Animals that ought to be."

Michelson and Baskin (the team behind Did You Say Ghosts?, 1993) introduce readers to the Nightnoise Gladiator, who fends off things that go bump in the night; the I'm-All-Ears, to eavesdrop on and pass along conversations normally out of earshot; the Talkback Bat, who says everything children would if they weren't sure they'd be punished. Students will especially appreciate the Backpack Snacker, who specializes in homework assignments: "She gobbled up my grammar/and I can't believe she ate/the last page of my book report,/but believe me, it was great." The poems have a delightful musical quality, the lilt punctuated by an occasional twist of the unexpected—the Nightmare Scarer terrifies the one he came to save, the Sweeteater "burped and ate my dad." Each clever poem is accompanied by watercolor interpretations that swing from a gargoyle effect to faunal mug shots.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689806353
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
08/13/1996
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.32(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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