What's for Dinner

Overview

Dinner is Served.

What in nature could be more poetic than the hunt for food and the struggle for survival? In twenty-nine poems readers will squirm at the realities of how the animal world catches food, eats it, and becomes dinner in turn. In these quirky poems readers are introduced to many animals with disgusting eating habits, such as the marabou stork that lurks on the periphery, like a vampire in the shadows, waiting for a chance to pick at a rotting carcass. The dermestid...

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Overview

Dinner is Served.

What in nature could be more poetic than the hunt for food and the struggle for survival? In twenty-nine poems readers will squirm at the realities of how the animal world catches food, eats it, and becomes dinner in turn. In these quirky poems readers are introduced to many animals with disgusting eating habits, such as the marabou stork that lurks on the periphery, like a vampire in the shadows, waiting for a chance to pick at a rotting carcass. The dermestid beetle does not mind doing the dirty work, cleaning up animals on the road side and often made busy at museums cleaning up bones for exhibits. And, baby wasps hatch inside an unsuspecting caterpillar and eat their way out.

Gross, cool, and extremely funny, David Clark’s illustrations get to the heart (and skin and guts) of the food chain and the web of life, depicting the animal world at dinner time in all its gory glory. Back matter includes further information about the animals in the poems and the scientific terms used.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hauth's funny, eloquent poems celebrate the often-grisly realities of the food chain, depicted in Clark's scraggly ink and watercolor illustrations. A mole gags on a banana slug, a rat "gets a hug" from a boa constrictor, and a flattened toad becomes a roadkill restaurant ("In adjoining rooms, they dine al fresco—/ upper thigh for ants, lower thigh for wasps"). Readers will learn plenty along the way: "Eating Words," points out that "vore means eat" and "carni means meat," therefore, "carnivores eat/ snakes and lizards, deer and lamb,/ carrion, birds, fish, and ham." Appended notes provide additional animal facts. A satisfying mix of tutelage and repartee. Ages 7–10. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews

The conclusion of this volume's title poem—"finding food / is not a joke. / Living things must eat / or croak"—with its blunt appraisal of the whey of the world per se, sets the tone of Hauth and Clark's graphic exploration of who eats what. As the poet delicately surveys the somewhat unsavory aspects of survival, the illustrator's hilarious watercolor-and-ink renderings defuse the deadliness of the subject matter. The result is an enriching overview of the natural world spiced with a Dorothy Parker–esque sense of the macabre that children will absolutely relish. A telling example is "Waste Management," in which a light treatment of the turkey vulture's carrion-loving ways—"It likes to feast before the worms, / which saves us all from stink and germs"—is dramatized. Serenely smiling, it pulls ruby, taffy-like sinews from a ribcage while a tiny fly rests on the tip of a cloven hoof separated from its former haunches by a bloody tire track. Other poems look at the wildly diverse ways in which organisms lure or capture their prey; still others break down sophisticated concepts like symbiosis and parasitism in brilliantly accessible terms. Delectable poetic lessons on the food chain designed to help young readers rather literally digest the natural world. (notes on scientific terms and animals discussed, further reading)(Picture book/poetry. 8 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570914720
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 1,456,954
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Katherine B. Hauth is the author of NIGHT LIFE OF THE YUCCA: THE STORY OF A FLOWER AND A MOTH. She lives in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

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