Sunday, January 22, 2006
Florian, Douglas. 2005. ZOO’S WHO. San Diego: Harcourt. ISBN 0152046399 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-4]
In his sixth installment of animal poetry, Douglas Florian is at his best as he introduces readers to an assortment of animals that can be found in the “zoo.” By no means is this a standard city zoo, but one full of interesting creatures from the elegant penguin to a slow moving sloth. Though the book title may be straightforward, readers are in for a treat as the imaginative paintings leap off the pages.
The mixed media art found for each entry provides a different viewpoint. Whether created by colored pencils, primed brown paper bags, stencils, or rubber stamps, the versatility is evident. One additional feature that is sure to captivate readers is the saw-toothed edgings that appear at the top or bottom of some of the full-page illustrations. Moreover, small images appear throughout the paintings as hidden treasures. For example in the poem, “The Wallaby,” readers will glimpse a dictionary definition of this animal. Although the poems are short in verse, laughter will ensue as readers participate in the play on words. In “The Bats,” the author advocates feelings that may arise as one thinks about this mysterious animal: “In dark caves/ So dank and dreary/ Bats, I hear/ Are very ear-ie.”
Young readers can create a class book by illustrating different animals using watercolors or tempera paint or rubber stamps. Older readers may produce an original animal poem and accompanying illustration.
Other poetry books about animals:
Hughes, Langston. THE SWEET AND SOUR ANIMAL BOOK. ISBN 019509185X
Sidman, Joyce. SONG OF THE WATER BOATMAN AND OTHER POND POEMS. ISBN 0618135472
Other books by Florian that could be compared to this one:
BEAST FEAST. ISBN 0152951784
BOW WOW MEOW MEOW. ISBN 0152163956
MAMMALABILIA. ISBN 0152021671
By Aundrea L. Wright