The Swamps of Sleethe: Poems From Beyond the Solar System

Overview

Jack Prelutsky’s exploration of outer space is not for the faint of heart. No friendly little E.T.–type aliens await your arrival. There are many imaginative ways to perish in these darkly comedic cautionary verses about unexplored worlds so far beyond our solar system. The final poem is an environmental tour de force that packs a wallop. Here are poems the older reader will find great fun to memorize and rattle off to anyone who will listen! And there is a special bonus: ...
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The Swamps of Sleethe: Poems From Beyond the Solar System

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Overview

Jack Prelutsky’s exploration of outer space is not for the faint of heart. No friendly little E.T.–type aliens await your arrival. There are many imaginative ways to perish in these darkly comedic cautionary verses about unexplored worlds so far beyond our solar system. The final poem is an environmental tour de force that packs a wallop. Here are poems the older reader will find great fun to memorize and rattle off to anyone who will listen! And there is a special bonus: anagrams for the kid who loves word puzzles.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
While growing up in the Bronx, little Jack Prelutsky was known as an imaginative kid, but for some reason he didn't like poetry. Then, when he was in junior high school, he wrote a poem about a werewolf. When it was published, Jack took the first steps on a career path that has kept him busy and kept readers delighted for decades. The man named as the first U.S. children's poet laureate has written scores of books, but he has never before composed one on a subject quite so vast as Swamps of Sleethe; in this book of "poems from beyond the solar system," Prelutsky ventures where no poet has gone before. A thoroughly entertaining read.
Publishers Weekly

The nation's first children's poet laureate fills a galaxy with weird, scary planets: his 19 poems describe places and creatures you wouldn't want to visit. On planet "Lonithor," for example, "demon birds... eviscerate their prey./ And when they've disemboweled you,/ They'll pick apart your face"; on "Ogdofod" the monopods "will snare you in their nets,/ Then process you and package you/ To feed their hungry pets." Pickering's (Skelly the Skeleton Girl ) amusing illustrations suggest images for a Tim Burton movie. A tourist on "Drifig Prime" resembles a frozen Corpse Bride and someone who stumbles on Planet Grob looks a lot like Edward Scissorhands. Less broad in its appeal than most of Prelutsky's previous titles, this over-the-top intergalactic odyssey will mostly please kids capable of relishing horror and its send-ups ("You laugh till you wish / You'd expire of laughter, / And in that same second, / you mercifully do"). For added fun, about half of the planet names are anagrams; a key is listed at the end. Ages 8-up. (Mar.)

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Children's Literature - Sylvia Firth
Children's Poet Laureate, Prelutsky has again produced a collection sure to be a hit with boys and girls. Over the years, many volumes of his poems have introduced youngsters to the delights of poetry. The sense of fun and silliness is always perfectly attuned to children's sense of humor. This latest collection continues this tradition by describing the world of outer space. Here are planets with intriguing names, characteristics, and creatures. On Lonithor are huge birds with fourteen wings, who are always hungry and eat whatever they capture. Landing on Grob will result in total transformation from a human being into a robot that has "a laser-guided cannon where your belly used to be." Planet Wolvar Sprod is home to beings called globulings who "endlessly revolve you..... they'll dissolve you." The illustrations are boldly colored and a perfect match for the text. They look much like a Tim Burton movie and are sure to appeal to kids. As an extra bonus, some of the planet names that are starred contain an anagram that portrays a characteristic of the planet. Answers are provided at the end of the book. By all means, add this book to the poetry section. Reviewer: Sylvia Firth
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6

Nineteen poems with jaunty rhythms lure readers to some very menacing planets. Almost all tell of the horrors to be found in worlds beyond our solar system: "The cooks of Gazook/Will reduce you to powder,/And use you to flavor/Their savory chowder." The bugs of Gum simply eat visitors alive. Planet Swole envelopes guests in despair, while Skreber kills them with laughter. The last poem shows alien explorers visiting an unfortunate planet where the inhabitants cause each other harm and suffer terribly. The final page turn reveals this planet to be one that readers know all too well-and call home. Dark colors with sharp contrasts help define these worlds in mixed-media illustrations. Some of the unusual planet names are anagrams to solve with answers in the back of the book. Science-fiction and poetry lovers should unite over this slim and entertaining volume.-Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA

Kirkus Reviews
The planets circling distant suns should definitely be avoided, according to these cautionary verses and eerie illustrations. Young space travelers who don't leave their bones behind in the "foul and festering broth" of the titular swamps will freeze and shatter on Drifig Prime, be devoured happily by "The Demon Birds of Lonithor" ("And when they've disemboweled you, / they'll pick apart your face . . . / Don't ever visit Lonithor / When you're in outer space") or find themselves exploding, dissolving away or transformed into trees or metal robots elsewhere. Pickering's full-bleed pictures depict few of these bad ends explicitly, but do offer dimly lit scenes of distressed-looking young humans amid exotic flora and fauna. For would-be explorers who might be entertaining thoughts of staying at home, though, the collection closes with a portrait of our own planet as such a scene of "carnage, chaos, callousness, / Brutality and greed" that a set of visiting aliens themselves zoom off in haste. Taken individually the poems are pleasantly ghoulish-but all in all, this is Prelutsky in an uncharacteristically dark vein. (Picture book/poetry. 8-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375846748
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/10/2009
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 1,019,165
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.42 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Prelutsky
Jack Prelutsky was named our nation’s first Children’s Poet Laureate in 2006. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Jimmy Pickering’s deliciously scary illustrations have appeared in several picture books, and his art has enhanced the covers of all of Debi Gliori’s Pure Dead series. He lives in Astoria, Oregon.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great for older readers

    This new poetry anthology of Jack Prelutsky is an upgrade to his previous books, both in content, theme, and vcabulary. These poems are dark and sometimes gruesome, while the colorful illustrations lighten up their mood. But best of all, Prelutsky's choice of vocabulary for the descriptions and metaphors is so much more complex than in his other poems I have read. This book is suitable for fifth grade students with an ample vocabulary, but on average, these poems might challenge a seventh grader. In addition, the theme here being aliens and creatures who can eat you or worse, I am hoping to use this book in my classromm to entice boys to read, and hopefully enjoy, poetry.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderfully Dark Poems Lead To Deep Lessons.

    The Swamps of Sleethe is a collection of poems by the first Children's Poet Laureate, Jack Prelutsky. Each poem is a clever ode to a far away and dangerous planet. Splashed with challenging vocabulary words (such as malevolent, insatiable, unremitting, and disconcerted) each poem is a grim warning of what this particular world would do to it's visitors. Colorful illustrations fill each page and children are likely to love the gory details. The planets names are sometimes anagrams for their characteristics (such as Ning-fa-Dee (deafening)). The last poem deals with alien visitors on an extremely dangerous and forboding planet. There is "chaos and callousness and indiffernce to those in need". The aliens are so disgusted and saddened that they leave. As they take off you can see that the planet they were repulsed by is Earth. It is a desperate message to the child reading it to respect the friendly planet we live on or it will become like the dangerous places they visited in this book.
    Clever flowing verses, great vocabulary, bright illustrations, and a powerful message make this a great addition to any collection!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2012

    WOW

    I can not read the poems cannot believe it al because well dont take the sapple

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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