Thursday, January 24, 2008
Worth, Valerie. 2007. ANIMAL POEMS. Ill. by Steve Jenkins. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 0374380570 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-6]
In this poetry collection, we see a new format for Valerie Worth’s free verse poetry, a large picture book illustrated in full-color art with Steve Jenkins’ distinctive collages. In addition, the focus is entirely on animals, including the spider, whale, bat, groundhog, penguin, minnow, kangaroo, porcupine, jellyfish, cockroach, gorilla, and more. These animal poems are also a wonderful introduction to Worth’s gift for description and metaphor. She incorporates factual details about each animal as well as a sense of its nature and character. With his use of textural details and his gift of capturing the subject’s essence in the deceptively simple layering of colored paper, Jenkins has created illustrations that perfectly complement these well-crafted poems.
Match Worth’s writing in Animal Poems with Douglas Florian’s wordplay in Mammalabilia (Harcourt, 2000) or other animal poetry anthologies. What factual details about animals can children glean from these poems? Gather nonfiction books about animals and contrast both the art and photographs and the poetry and prose. Guide children in discussing how information about animals is communicated through words and pictures. Children could create their own collage or cut-paper animal pictures and write or choose animal poems to accompany them.
Other collections of animal poetry:
Harley, Avis. LEAP INTO POETRY. ISBN156397438X
Lewis, J. Patrick. A HIPPOPOTAMUSN’T: AND OTHER ANIMAL POEMS. ISBN 0803705182
Prelutsky, Jack. (Ed.) THE BEAUTY OF THE BEAST. ISBN 067987058X
By Sylvia M. Vardell