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Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 6 years, 11 months ago

21 April 2013 PUG AND OTHER ANIMAL POEMS by Valerie Worth and Steve Jenkins, ill., Farrar Straus & Giroux, March 2013, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-374-35024-8




With their goggling

Eyes and stumpy

Noses, wrinkled

Brows and hairy

Moles, they're what

Some people

Might call plug-ugly;

Perhaps because, for

Dogs, they look

A lot like people."


As I've written on previous occasions, I have an index card file box filled with canary-colored index cards upon each of which I've copied a favorite children's poem and the bibliographic information for that poem.  The initial set of cards in my poetry box  -- organized by category -- animal, child, community, machines, plants, physical forces -- was compiled nearly a quarter-century ago, while I was studying early childhood education and I was spending forever in the library reading scores and scores of children's poetry books and anthologies to find the ones that really turned me on.  This box was then employed every day at circle time when I'd always take a minute to pull out a card and read aloud one of those poems.


So, in reading PUG AND OTHER ANIMAL POEMS, a posthumous collection of Valerie Worth's works, I recall reading most of these poems way back when, including some that made it into my poetry box.


So, what is mind-blowing to me about this posthumous collection, is the skill exhibited by collage artist Steve Jenkins to bring each of these poems to life.  Jenkins, a guy who already has received Caldecott recognition in the past, continues to grow his already amazing artistry.  Look at the cover illustration for the title track, PUG.  Look at the folds of skin on the forehead.  Look the lighting on the nose.  Look at the eyes and the eyebrows and the whiskers and the jowls.  How the heck does he bring paper to life like he does? 


I just wish that I could go back to being the poetry-obsessed nine year-old that once was so that I could see these spreads through those eyes as I read these poems aloud to myself.  




That house

Had shallow

Wells around the

Cellar windows,


Places all

Their own,

Holding a clutter

Of leaves,


Lost tennis

Balls and

Marbles, and




Lumps of

Earth with

Gilded eyes."


Get set for rats and fireflies, bulls and opossums, fish and sparrows and pigeons. A total joy to stare at and read aloud, this is a collection you cannot miss.


Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com
Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_school_lit/


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