If I Had a Tail

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Seven poetic riddles about odd-appendaged animals

The reader is asked to guess what a creature is from a description of the appearance and use of the its tail.

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Overview

Seven poetic riddles about odd-appendaged animals

The reader is asked to guess what a creature is from a description of the appearance and use of the its tail.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The tail wags the narrative in this collection of seven poetic riddles about some of the most unusually appendaged members of the animal kingdom. Each of Warrick's (Louisa May Alcott) riddles appears opposite one of Neidigh's (Creatures at My Feet) detailed close-ups; the answer is revealed on the next spread, with a double-page portrait of the animal. The riddles all open with the phrase, "If I had a tail, a tail like a...," then launch into some interesting analogies. Unfortunately, sometimes the analogies will be more familiar to youngsters than the animals they introduce. For example, "If I had a tail, a tail like a day-old pancake" begins Warrick's riddle about the platypus. Other analogies, such as the seahorse riddle, work very effectively: "I'd tie up to coral as dinner drifts by." Using a varied palette of gouache and colored pencil, as befits the diverse habitats, Neidigh shows an eye for detail with every scale, feather or hair on the painstakingly rendered tails. The final page invites readers to make up their own riddles and offers a group portrait of a boy with three common pets (dog, cat, turtle) for inspiration. Ages 3-6. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
This beautifully illustrated book reminds us that all types of creatures have tails and use them for many different purposes. For instance, the opossum uses its tail to hang upside down from a tree, and the peacock uses its colorful tail to spread out like a fan. From birds to sea creatures to mammals, a wide variety of animals are represented. This is a wonderful picture book to help teach association and identification. It also challenges the reader to come up with other animals that have tails and to consider how they use them. Overall, it is a bright, fun book that is a good addition to any collection. 2001, Rising Moon, $15.95. Ages 5 to 7. Reviewer: Sheree Van Vreede
School Library Journal
PreS-K-Close-up gouache and colored-pencil illustrations of animals' tails, accompanied by a brief clue, invite youngsters to guess the identity of seven creatures. A page turn provides a double-page, full-body rendering of the animal and its name printed in colors that pick up the palette of the illustration. Multiple small tails frame each clue, while the magnified view of each tail reveals every scale, hair, and feather. This book satisfies on many levels. There is much to pore over and talk about as readers discover the animals in their natural habitats. Familiar creatures such as the alligator and skunk and more unusual ones like the platypus will provide a challenge for children of differing abilities. The brief text offers fine examples of descriptive language. Comparisons ("If I had a tail-like a green, speckled whip" and "-like a day-old pancake,") and alliteration ("a beautiful, bushy black-and-white tail" and "a snuggly slipper") abound. Best of all, youngsters are encouraged to use their imaginations to continue the game: "Now you take a turn and imagine a tail." For more information on how animals use their tails, try Hana Machotka's Terrific Tails (Morrow, 1994; o.p.).-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780873587815
  • Publisher: Cooper Square Publishing Llc
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.74 (w) x 8.78 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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