From School Library Journal
Grade 3–8—This posthumously published collection of 23 poems is masterfully illustrated with colorful cut-paper collages. Worth's artistry lies in painting nuanced word pictures in a few spare lines of free verse. Her poems are often exquisite, always thoughtful, and apt to leave readers with an entirely new perspective. In "Bear," she focuses on the creature's cagy fierceness: "The bear's fur/Is gentle but/His eye is not:/It burns our/Way, while/He walks right/And left, back/And forth, before/Us…." "Jellyfish" crafts an aura of elegant mystery: "Rising under water/Like transparent/Ghost-bells/Of lost lands…." Presented on beautifully designed spreads, the offerings are animated by Jenkins's exquisite artwork. Whether eye-catching or subtly understated, his designs respectfully bear out each poem's image. The author's indelible description of a porcupine "Held fast/In the thicket/Of its own/Thorns" is marvelously brought to life in the brilliant, multidimensional-looking illustration of a small creature peering shyly from its spiky tangle. In "Star-Nosed Moles," readers are first drawn to the visual depiction of another unassuming animal, paws splayed at an awkward angle, but this image only underscores the delicious irony of the poem's artful metaphor, which likens moles to miners with "velvet-coated/Appetites, their taste/For treasure fed/On all the buried/Wealth of earth." Worth's work deserves a wide audience: this superlative collaboration will resonate with poetry lovers, but should also open doors for those who feel daunted by poetry.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
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*Starred Review* Vivid imagery and an expert command of sound and meter distinguish this collection of poems about animals. Each spread is dedicated to a different creature, from tiny snail to blue whale, and Worth's inventive metaphors will startle readers into thinking about common animals in new ways: A wasp is a "sharp flake of / Night let loose / In daylight," for example, and jellyfish are "transparent / Ghost-bells / Of lost lands." Jenkins' masterful, spare cut-paper collages illustrate each selection, and the picture-book format seems a bit at odds with Worth's more challenging, philosophical poems, which demand an older child's expanded vocabulary and knowledge of science concepts, such as evolution. There are many poems that will be accessible to younger children, though, and the poetry's many strengths overcome any questions about the intended audience that the format raises; even teens may appreciate Worth's well-honed poetry and her intelligent, creative views of the animal world. Suggest this with Diane Ackerman's Animal Sense
(2002). Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved