Monday, November 14, 2011

Around the World on Eighty Legs

Horn Book (March/April, 2011)

This collection of animal poems opens with a map of the world. The fifty-plus poems are arranged geographically by region, featuring such section titles as "From the Andes to the Amazon: South America (and Beyond)." Cleverly, the poems often pick up on some particular trait of the animal: "When gusts of wind / come, / it's all right. / The sloth hangs / loose -- / his claws hang / tight." Gibson uses a variety of poetic forms, many of the poems bouncing along in a way that will make readers want to read them aloud just for the joy of it. Funny wordplay ("Though it's winter, / he's so furry, / the chinchilla's not / chinchilly") match up with amusing illustrations in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil that depict each animal accurately but with a twinkle of personality. Packed with poems (and a selection of further interesting animal facts at the back), this makes a great gift book as well as a nifty supplement to story times and classroom units on animals. susan dove lempke

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