In The Wild
by David Elliott
illustrated by Holly Meade
Candlewick Press, August 24, 2010
review copy provided by the publisher
I don't usually review books for Poetry Friday, but if you loved this team's first book of poetry for younger children, On the Farm, (my review is here) you're going to want to see/get their new one!
Holly Meade's woodblock illustrations pop off the page and pull the reader in, and David Elliott's poems make you look again and think and sometimes laugh out loud. The wild animals featured span the globe and a variety of ecosystems. You start with your typical lion, elephant, giraffe, zebra, rhino, but then you get sloth, jaguar, panda, tiger, orangutan, kangaroo, buffalo, wolf, and finally, polar bear.
Every one of Elliott's poems captures the essence of the animal in description (giraffe is "Stilt-walker/Tree-topper/Long-necked/Show-stopper), or in comparison ("...Who would have guessed/the Elephant/is so much like a cloud?"). His poems are short and accessible and perfect for reading aloud.
Here are my two favorites, the first because it is also a letter (...and how about that rhyme of forest and before us? Kay Ryan would like that...), and the second because of the nod to William Blake:
Three cheers to you, man of the forest.
You arrived here long before us.
You paved the way; you saw it through.
How nice to have someone like you
sitting in our family tree.
Sincerely, from your cousin,
We can never touch them,
so we love them from afar;
they are wild and distant ---
the Tiger and the star.
We can never know them;
they are not what we are;
fire, fire, burning bright ---
the tiger and the star.
7-Imp talks to illustrator Holly Meade here.
On the Farm reviewed at Becky's Young Readers, Anastasia's Picture Book of the Day, and Elaine's Wild Rose Reader.
The Poetry Friday round up is at the Stenhouse blog today. They have a new Georgia Heard poem to share with us, so scoot over and check it out!