Monday, February 11, 2008

Animal Poems

ANIMAL POEMS; Valerie Worth, illustrated by Steve Jenkins; New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2007; unpaged. Nonfiction.

Many children's books are written in verse or rhyme; Ms. Worth's Animal Poems are truly poetry. Consider the porcupine "Held fast/ In the thicket/ Of its own/ Thorns, the/Porcupine's Timid body/ Blooms safe . . . " or my favorite, the bear, whose fur is gentle " . . . but his eye is not . . ." his "Hot eye/ Stings out/ From the dark hive/ Of his head/ Like a fierce/ Furious/ Bee." Any author would be hard pressed to create text equal to or greater than Steve Jenkins' extraordinary paper-cut illustrations, but Valerie Worth has succeeded beyond telling. Ms. Worth's recent death makes this her last book, alas.

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