A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk: A Forest of Poems

Overview

In a watery mirror
the rugged raccoon
admires his face
by the light of the moon:
the mysterious mask,
the whiskers beneath,
the sliver of cricket
still stuck in his teeth.

Take a lighthearted romp ...

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Overview

In a watery mirror
the rugged raccoon
admires his face
by the light of the moon:
the mysterious mask,
the whiskers beneath,
the sliver of cricket
still stuck in his teeth.

Take a lighthearted romp through four seasons in the forest with these whimsical poems. Marvel at the overachieving beaver, applaud the race-winning snail and its perfect trail of slime, or head off to be pampered at a squirrel spa.

Warning: Deborah Ruddell's quirky cast of animal characters and Joan Rankin's deliciously daffy pictures will cause giggles. The woods have never been so much fun!

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Twenty-three evocative poems about forest animals, beautifully illustrated. Literary variety serves this collection well, with many differenct lengths, rhyme schemes and moods...An excellent collection with broad age appeal." — Kirkus, Starred Review

"The happy result is a lively and inviting collection that invites both examination of poetry and examination of habitat; the vivacious verses are suitable for reading aloud or alone, inside or outside..." — The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Starred Review

"Once again, the poems and artwork create whimsical scenarios that will amuse kids even as they subtly incorporate basic zoological facts...Both lighthearted and substantive, this is a good choice for cross-curricular sharing." — Booklist

From The Critics
"The happy result is a lively and inviting collection that invites both examination of poetry and examination of habitat; the vivacious verses are suitable for reading aloud or alone, inside or outside."
--*Bulletin

"Once again, the poems and artwork create whimsical scenarios that will amuse kids even as they subtly incorporate basic zoological facts…Both lighthearted and substantive, this is a good choice for cross-curricular sharing."
--Booklist

Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
Perhaps you cannot judge a book by its cover but in this case you will get a preview of some of the forest creatures and their personalities featured in the poems. You will also get a good sense of the humor and fun in between the covers of the book. There are 22 poems on critters large and small, from deer ("The Forest's Royal Family"), to a raccoon admiring his face "by the light of the moon," to a Green Tiger Beetle "who's a brilliant shade of teal." The playfulness of the short poems is reflected in the humor of the illustrations. There are poems for each season, too. "Woodchuck's Wake-Up Morning" is perfect for Groundhog Day. Anyone who has ever made a handprint turkey will get a laugh from "A Wild Turkey Comments on His Portrait." This is a great book to have on hand when introducing forest animals. I also recommend it as light and lively bedtime reading. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal

K-Gr 5

Another winner from the accomplished duo that created Today at the Bluebird Café (S & S, 2007). In one poem, a toad enumerates what it ate for lunch, "But I made a mistake/with the slug-on-a-stick-/a smidgen too salty-/and now I feel sick." The classic art project of a turkey produced from a child's handprint inspires a delightful response from the turkey, "Finally, I'm baffled/that you've made me look so dumb./My head is quite distinguished/and it's nothing like your thumb." A fox with paws crossed explains why he will never be a pet, "I won't come when you call,/I won't jump for the ball," sounding humorously like Green Eggs and Ham . A lovely description of spring, "A million arms in woody sleeves/wave a zillion brand-new leaves," evokes the majesty of nature magnificently. Richly glowing watercolors accompany these delightful poems about woodland flora and fauna. A charming spread showcasing the animals featured in the poems is repeated on the endpapers, and the vivid cover is irresistible. This beautifully designed book displays large bold font that stands out clearly on bright white paper and is edged by robust watercolors. Perfect for sharing aloud-Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA

Kirkus Reviews
Twenty-three evocative poems about forest animals, beautifully illustrated. Literary variety serves this collection well, with many different lengths, rhyme schemes and moods. The common elements in Ruddell's verse are economy and an observer's respect for her subjects. Deer horns are "velvet crowns," and even the humorous poem about the beaver ("True Believer / Waterproof Weaver / Overachiever / Roll-Up-Her-Sleever") is praiseful. She avoids the cute and obvious metaphor; rather than trotting out tired masked-bandit imagery, she instead pictures the raccoon regarding his reflection: "the mysterious mask / the whiskers beneath, / the sliver of cricket / still stuck in his teeth." Other subjects include snails, a salamander, a raccoon and a hoot owl, "working on his timing / and his quavery technique." Similarly, Rankin's watercolors show respect via their accuracy and detail, while still capturing the various flavors of the poems. Her caroling coyotes look appropriately scruffy, and her feuding woodpeckers are sublimely hotheaded. A wild turkey glares at a child's hand-tracing portrait; a toad regrets eating "the slug-on-a-stick." An excellent collection with broad age appeal. (Picture book. 4-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416942115
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 3/10/2009
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 411,602
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.30 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Deborah Ruddell

Deborah Ruddell is the author of the celebrated picture books Who Said Coo?, illustrated by Robin Luebs, and A Whiff of Pine, A Hint of Skunk and Today at the Bluebird Cafe, both illustrated by Joan Rankin. Before writing children’s books, she was an art teacher and a graphic designer. Deborah lives in Peoria, Illinois. Visit her at DeborahRuddell.com.

Joan Rankin has illustrated more than twenty-five books for children. She received the South African HAUM Dann Retief Prize for Children’s Book Illustration in 1986 and the Katrina Harris Award for Children’s Book Illustration in 1991. Books she has illustrated include A Frog in the Bog by Karma Wilson and Off to First Grade by Louise Borden. She lives with her husband and three daughters in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2012

    Highly Recommend

    Wonderful book. Fun and humorous. Very enjoyable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2012

    Wingflower/Mistystar

    Darkdream, it's me, Wingflower! Mistystar is Wingflower! I need to tell you the story... I know it's complicated, but please... listen to me. I'm Wingflower....

    Wingflower/Mistystar

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