Like Jack Prelutsky, Horton (Halloween Hoots and Howls) excels at rhyming silliness. In this collection of animal poems, a beaver wears braces, a snake wishes its old skin were attached with a convenient zipper, and a chameleon wakes from a nightmare in which the world has turned plaid. While Horton's conceits often seem somewhat familiar, she zeroes in on the kind of humor that will appeal to her target audience. After Old MacDonald's Billy Goat chomps down such things as "A spade, a hoe, a wooden rake,/ A buzzing fly, for goodness' sake," he chows down on "Big Mac" himself for lunch. Adinolfi's mixed-media illustrations are bright and full of action, but sometimes the additional details included in the collages seem to compete for attention with the text. Adinolfi's textured papers and designs often lend artistic interest to the page, but curlicues and shapes can make the illustration difficult to decipher. Youngsters will grin at characters such as a penguin who marches to his own beat, decked out in plaid pants and a flowered vest (applied in collage fabrics), or the male porcupine who snuggles up to his sweetheart's "sharp prickly spine" and says, "Tell me you love me-eow!-say it's true,/ Because I am hopelessly stuck on-ow!-you." Ages 4-7. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The twenty funny poems in this collection are all about animals in various silly, quirky situations. The big, bright illustrations are an interesting mix of collage and watercolors, colored pencils, and watercolor paper. They add just the right visual touch to the enjoyment of the bubbly, perky language of the poems. Who could resist a whale that prefers to take showers even when "he has an ocean to use for a tub." In "I'm a Fierce and Fearless Dragon" we hear about how he can breath "red-hot plumes of flame" and "Knights for miles around all tremble at the mention of my name"only to discover that the elaborate dragon description is just the dream of a "teeny tiny lizard / Who's a mere two inches tall." Clever and whimsical use of language makes this a pleasure to read aloud. The poems will give the listeners lots of things to discuss and spark some ideas for their own poems. 2006, Henry Holt, Ages 3 up.
K-Gr 3-Twenty-one poems about an assortment of animals in ridiculous situations. A centipede is on the hunt for matching shoes, a chameleon panics when the landscape turns plaid, and a hyena is a surefire audience for knock-knock jokes. The poetry is mildly amusing (although children may find a sheep wishing for synthetic wool confusing), but not as clever as either Douglas Florian's Omnibeasts (Harcourt) or Betsy Lewin's Animal Snackers (Holt, both 2004). Some lines scan awkwardly, and there are some real stretches for rhymes (parading/skating). The standout here is Adinolfi's mixed-media art. The bright colors and energetic lines supply the humor and liveliness sometimes lacking in the verses. This is an additional purchase for large collections in which silly poetry is popular.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Quickly, tell me, what would you do / If a hippo were stomping around in your stew." Horton's collection of silly animal poems covers the animal kingdom from the ponderous hippo to a snuffling elephant to the annoying, but much celebrated in story and poem, mosquito. There are several gems: advice to tell your jokes to hyenas if you want to be assured of laughs; a centipede's lament at never finding 100 pairs of matching shoes; a snake who wishes he had a zipper to help him shed his skin; and a tiny lizard's dream of being a monstrous, fearless dragon. There are others, however, which are definite also-rans in this poetical biome: a penguin poem that brings Helen Lester's Tacky series to mind and a plaid-tortured chameleon fresh out of Looney Tunes. Adinolfi's mixed-media illustrations are bright and energetic, making this, if not a first choice, a good enough ingredient to fill out thin poetry collections. (Picture book. 4-7)