In a starred review, PW wrote, "This volume contains witty poems filled with comic word play about 21 scaly, slimy creatures. From the Midwife Toad to the Poison-Dart Frogs, Florian finds mischievous reptile lore that will make young readers laugh." Ages 5-10. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like Florian's Insectlopedia and Mammalabilia, this volume contains witty poems filled with comic word playDthis time about 21 scaly, slimy creatures. With the droll verbal dexterity of J. Patrick Lewis and the just slightly naughty humor of Jack Prelutsky, Florian regales his readers with unexpected rhymes. "It's wise to stay clear/ Of the dangerous cobra," he warns, "all the months of the year,/ Including Octobra." A picture of a costumed child holding a jack-o'-lantern is accompanied by the verse "I wouldn't wanna/ Be an iguanaD/ Except for Halloween." From the Midwife Toad ("On Dad's back the eggs are toted./ To his kids he's toadally devoted") to the Poison-Dart Frogs, Florian finds mischievous reptile lore that will make young readers laugh. At first glance his illustrations seem less varied than in the previous books, but these bug-eyed amphibians have a low-key style of their own. The newt reads the "Newt News" paper, and the Glass Frog camouflaged on a leaf labels various parts of the painting either "me" or "leaf." The medium is different, too: here Florian uses watercolors and collage elements atop brown paper bags. The warm, familiar tones and soft lines belie the idiosyncrasy of the compositionsDthese frogs and friends don't necessarily jump out at readers, but continually take them by surprise. Ages 5-10. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Amphibians and reptiles abound in these 21 poems. Each poem, one per page, is accompanied by a full-page, imaginative and amusing painting of the critter. These poems beg to be read aloud due to their strong rhythm and rhyme. Full of humor and delicious words, they are impossible to keep to oneself. Many of the paintings have the word of the animal, or at least the first letter of its name. It makes for an interesting search on each page and encourages children to look closely. The illustration of the Box Turtle makes him look like a little car complete with wheels where his feet would be. "The Python" and "The Gecko" are both examples of concrete poems. Florian has become a favorite poet, and his followers will enjoy every word and picture here. 2001, Harcourt, . Ages 6 up. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
Douglas Florian has established himself as both a poet and an artist for the very young in such acclaimed works as Insectlopedia, Mammalabilia, and Beast Feast. In Lizards, Frogs, and Polliwogs he turns his attention to amphibians and reptiles--animal classes not usually noted for their poetic inspiration. But Florian weaves his peculiar type of magic and produces a book that is bound to be a childhood favorite. In twenty-one brief poems, Florian writes about the familiar--the bullfrog, the box turtle, the crocodile, and the alligator--and the unfamiliar--the skink, the glass frog, and the poison-dart frog. He mingles an occasional zoology lesson (the male midwife toad carries about the fertilized eggs on his hind legs until the tadpoles hatch). But, for the most part, the poems simply exhibit joyful language play. The poetry is light, and many of the poems exercise considerable poetic license. For the sake of rhyme, Florian freely adopts nonstandard usage--"I wouldn't wanna/Be an iguana" or "Orange newt/Orange you cute/In your bright orange suit" or warning us to avoid the cobra "All months of the year/Including Octobra." He loves to make up words--the wood frog is a "frozen frogsicle" stuck beneath a "logsickle" with its mind in a "fogsickle." Florian's poems are so welcome because, despite their surface simplicity, they reach beyond the insipid, sing-song verses that publishers seem so eager to foist upon us. Steering away from the trite nursery-rhyme knockoffs, with their monotonous rhythm and predictable rhymes, Florian employs a wide variety of poetic forms--in fact, no two poems in this collection have the same stanza pattern. He also makes use of varying rhyme and rhythmicalschemes. "The Newt" is composed almost entirely in anapestic feet and "The Skink" contains various internal rhymes--primarily assonance--to unify the deceptively simple five-line poem. Florian also tosses in an occasional concrete poem. The words of "The Cobra" wrap around, snakelike, in a circle, and the letters of "The Polliwogs" bob up and down the line of type, imitating the agitation of the tiny creatures in the water. From the standpoint of poetic technique, this is one of Florian's most varied and imaginative collections. The lively watercolors, painted on brown paper bags and augmented with collage, evoke a primitive quality equally as playful as the poems themselves. The animals all appear friendly and gentle, sometimes belying the frightful image suggested in the poems themselves (such as the alligators who "Sometimes swallow second graders"). The paintings, often wildly colorful, are, like the poems, a feast for the imagination, a garden of delights. Reading Douglas Florian offers children a happy poetic segue from nursery rhymes to the more imaginative and challenging poems awaiting them in adolescence and adulthood. Harcourt, $16.00. Ages 5 to 10. Reviewer: David L. Russell SOURCE: The Five Owls, September/October 2001 (Vol. 16, No. 1)
School Library Journal
Gr 2-6-Florian keeps adding to his collections of animal doggerel, and this one stands up to the rest. Twenty-one poems, each about a particular amphibian or reptile, are full of surprises, and are a delight to read aloud. "Along the ground I'm found-I slink./Through grass I pass-I am a skink./Bite my tail and it releases./I don't fight back-/I fall to pieces." That last line "falls" down the page, and the poet uses concrete shapes in a few other selections. Some of the selections are stronger than others, but each one is a pleasure, laid out on its own single page facing a quirky watercolor painting. Though the poems do include information about the various animals, they are less instructive than they are fanciful. Serious and unpoetic herpetologists, however, may find themselves won over. Beautifully designed, this title is as irresistible as Florian's others-put it out and watch it go.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
A Child Magazine Best Book of 2001 Pick
Reptiles and amphibians of all shapes, sizes, and colors are celebrated in this playful poetry collection. The short, snappy verses ("But did you know that alligators/Sometimes swallow second graders?") are infused with high spirits that extend to the impressionistic watercolor collages.
"It's wise to stay clear / Of the dangerous cobra / All months of the year, / Including Octobra." But it wouldn't be wise to stay clear of Florian's latest poetry collection, sixth in his successful series of witty poems and paintings about creatures of all sorts (Mammalabilia: Poems and Paintings, 2000, etc.). This volume includes 21 short poems about reptiles and amphibians, including common creatures such as the bullfrog and the box turtle and more exotic specimens such as the komodo dragon and the red-eyed tree frog. Teachers will like the way the rhyming poems integrate into elementary science lessons, imparting some basic zoological facts along with the giggles, and kids will love the poems because they're clever and funny in a style reminiscent of Ogden Nash, full of wordplay and sly humor. Florian's impressionistic full-page illustrations are done in watercolors on primed, brown paper bags, often offering another layer of humor, as in the orange newt reading the Newt News on the cover. A first choice for the poetry shelves in all libraries, this collection is toadally terrific. (Poetry. 4-10)
From the Publisher
"Lots of fun for a wide age rangeincluding adults."Booklist (starred review)
"Florian finds mischievous reptile lore that will make young readers laugh."Publishers Weekly
"A delightfully poetic peek into the world of reptiles and amphibians . . .children will giggle and holler for more."The Boston Herald