Book review: animal poems; 2 out of 5 stars #bookaday

animal poems book coverPoetry by Valerie Worth; pictures by Steve Jenkins
Poetry; picture book
2 out of 5 stars

As I read this book I felt there was a real disconnect between the illustrations and the poetry. The cut-collage illustrations by Steve Jenkins are exquisite, and their cartoon-like nature appeals to younger elementary age children. In contrast with that is free-verse poetry by Valerie Worth that requires deep thinking, a sophisticated vocabulary, and vast knowledge of the world. I feel the poetry is more suited to middle grade or high school students, who might view the illustrations as too young.

For example, the poem titled “Porcupine” features an adorable and detailed collage illustration of a porcupine, similar to the book cover. The second stanza of the poem reads:

But in
The warm
Weather of
Spring, doesn’t
It long
To flower
Out of that
Cold bower
Of spines,
And fly
With the
Blithe petals
Of mice
And hares,
Across the

Young children would not be able to grasp the meaning of this poem without an incredible amount of teaching and discussion. The poetry is beautiful, but needs to be packaged and marketed for older readers.

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