Monday, April 9, 2012

In the Wild

Booklist (July 2010 (Vol. 106, No. 21))

Preschool-Grade 2. Mixing wildlife and poetry is a good way to get children thinking about animals—or anything they might see—in a new way. This engaging picture book showcases 13 wild creatures, including a lion, sloth, panda, tiger, wolf, and polar bear, whose section concludes with a subtle ecological message when that animal is seen “disappearing into the snow.” Meade uses woodblock prints and watercolors, and the effect of the portrayed animals, sharply etched in black, is arresting. Meade also captures the scorched beauty of the African savanna and the intricacies of jungle foliage. Elliott’s short poems focus on what the illustrations cannot: animal movement (as when the lion shakes his mane) or sounds (as when the wolf howls). The poems give tiny, pleasant surprises; when pointing out the rosettes on the jaguar’s back, Elliott warns readers: “Beware of jungle-raised bouquets. Beware these hidden thorns.” Beautiful and thought-provoking.

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