Betsy Lewin's Animal Snackers returns with cheerful new watercolors that serve up the rhymes from the 1980 edition as a delectable new entree. The volume covers everything from the anteater ("His snout is like a hose./ He just sucks ants up his nose") to symbiotic tickbirds ("The rhino tolerates these guests/ because they rid him of his pests"). Even picky readers will likely return for seconds. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Simple rhymed verses, accompanied by full-page sketches, teach the reader about the various foods that animals eat. For example, a big gorilla head, with leaves sticking out of its mouth and nestled between tall bamboos, looks out of the page at the reader. We're told that "though [gorillas] look like brutes [they] snack on tender bamboo shoots." An animal facts page at the back of the book adds that a gorilla (from Africa) may eat 40 pounds of greens in a day. And so the book entertains and educates concerning the eating habits of the platypus, ostrich, koala, puffin, anteater, tickbird, raccoon, fruit bat, sea otter, porcupine, and crocodile. The text is humorous, comprised mostly of rhymed couplets interspersed with a few alternating-line rhyme schemes. The watercolors, outlined in thick black, are eye-catching and mostly cute; even animals like the gorilla or crocodile are not very scary. So pre-readers or early readers should be comfortable with these fun lessons but perhaps think twice the next time they eat animal crackers. 2004 (orig. 1980), Henry Holt and Company, Ages 3 to 7.
Carol Raker Collins, Ph.D.
PreS-Gr 3-In this reworking of her 1980 poetry collection of the same name (Dodd, Mead; o.p.), Lewin presents the eating habits of gorillas, ostriches, koalas, tickbirds, and sea otters, among others. On each spread, four lines of verse face a watercolor in her signature style of a dining creature. These poems, which are largely rhymed couplets, range from the delightfully clever ("The ostrich eyes with eager glint/a stone-his after-dinner mint") to the pedantically ordinary ("Tickbirds ride the rhino's back,/looking for a tasty snack"). While Lewin does not demonstrate the same playful use of language as Douglas Florian does in his animal verse, her poems have a greater simplicity, making them more accessible to a younger audience. Whereas Lewin's original bread-dough illustrations wryly fit the theme and title of the text, the new art offers clearer and more naturalistic images of the snacking creatures. Collections that have the earlier edition may want to purchase this version as well because of its radically different feel. It will be especially useful as a tie-in for science lessons. An "Animal Facts" section is included.-Rachel G. Payne, Brooklyn Public Library, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
In this thoroughly revised version of her 1980 collection, Lewin not only adds two poems, drops one, and revisits several, she replaces the original's bread-dough art with fresh, less-formal, loosely brushed watercolors that capture the verses' humor even better. Each four-lined entry introduces one of 12 animals at, so to speak, table, e.g., for the Anteater, "eating ants is tricky, / but his tongue is long and sticky. / His snout is like a hose. / He just sucks ants up his nose." It's a light brush with natural history that will leave young readers and listeners rolling in the aisles. Further "Animal Facts" appended. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)