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Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs Hardcover – July 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Welcome, boys and ghouls, to the pet cemetery. Here at Amen / Creature Corners, / beasties weep / like misty mourners, / but when they read / an epitaph, / it always brings them / one last laugh. So begins terminally terse poetry covering the sudden—and often quite grim—demises of 30 unlucky animals. Take, for instance, the hen that has just been hammered to death by three chicks: The end of her day / was in fowl play. Or how about the collection of milk cans stacked alongside an urn: This grave is peaceful, / the tombstone shaded, / but I’m not here— / I’ve been cream-ated. Yes, this is a picture book, and heavens no, it is not appropriate for everyone. Timmins’ brown-and-black-heavy Photoshop, ink, and gouache illustrations embellish each morbid rhyme with macabre images (warning: there will be blood) and facial details that turn each animal into a nightmare beast. Squeamish? Then stay away. But those itching to move beyond the positive messages and bright colors so ubiquitous in picture books will find this just the thing to elicit appreciative playground groans. Gallows humor at its finest. Grades 2-4. --Julie Cummins

About the Author

J. Patrick Lewis is the author of more than seventy books for children and was recently named Children’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. His books include FIRST DOG, SPOT THE PLOT: A RIDDLE BOOK OF RIDDLES, and KINDERGARTEN CAT. He lives in Westerville, Ohio. Visit Pat at www.jpatricklewis.com. Jane Yolen has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America. She is the award-winning author of over three hundred children's books including OWL MOON, a Caldecott Medal Winner, the How Do Dinosaurs . . . ? series, BAD GIRLS, and SEA QUEENS. Jane lives in Western Massachusetts.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 650L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge (July 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580892604
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580892605
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 0.4 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #993,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

After nearly three decades as a professor of economics, J. Patrick Lewis turned to poetry. He is the author of more than 75 children's books including A Hippopotamusn't (1990), BoshBlobberBosh (1998), Please Bury Me in the Library (2004), First Dog (2009), Spot the Plot (2009), and The House (2009).

He has recently been named the third U.S. Children's Poet Laureate (2011-2013) by the Poetry Foundation.

His books have been published by Creative Editions, Knopf, Atheneum, Dial, Harcourt, Little, Brown, National Geographic, Chronicle Books, Scholastic, Candlewick, Schwartz & Wade, Holiday House, Sleeping Bear Press, Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press, Dawn Publications, and others. Gulls Hold Up the Sky, his first book of adult poems, was published by Laughing Fire Press (2010).

Pat's children's poems have also appeared in CRICKET (26 times), SPIDER, LADYBUG, CICADA, ODYSSEY, RANGER RICK, HIGHLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN, Ms. Magazine, YOUR BIG BACKYARD, CREATIVE CLASSROOM, STORYTIME, STORYWORKS, CHICKADEE, AHOY, LANGUAGE ARTS, JOURNAL OF CHILDREN'S LITERATURE, BOOKBIRD, READING TODAY and over 100 anthologies. He wrote the 1992 National Children's Book Week poem, printed on one million bookmarks and distributed nationally.

Lewis has received numerous awards from the American Library Association, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and others. He was the recipient of the 2010-11 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Excellence in Children's Poetry Award, presented every two years.

WHERE I'LL BE NEXT--Schools, Bookstores, Conferences

October 14-16, 2011 Poetry Foundation--TED Lecture Chicago, Illiniois
October 23-25, 2011 NY State Reading Assn. Rye Brook, New York
October 28-31, 2011 Keystone State Reading Assn. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
November 5, 2011 Buckeye Book Fair Wooster, Ohio
November 8, 2011 Ashland University Ashland, Ohio
November 15-16, 2011 St. Joseph's College Rensselaer, Indiana
November 17-20, 2011 NCTE Convention Chicago, Illinois
December 1, 2010 Hillview Elementary Newark, Ohio
December 8, 2011 West Chester University (Dan Darigan) West Chester, PA
January 18, 2012 Richard Avenue Elementary Grove City, Ohio
January 24, 2012 Fouse Elementary Westerville, Ohio
March 1-3, 2012 Charlotte Huck Ch. Lit. Conference Redlands, California
April 3-5, 2012 Holland Hall Primary Tulsa, Oklahoma
April 12, 2012 Washington-Centerville Public Library Centerville, Ohio
April 13, 2012 Stingley Elementary Centerville, Ohio
April 17-25, 2012 Anglo-American School Moscow, Russia
April 29-May 2, 2012 IRA Convention Chicago, Illinois
May 10, 2012 Wynford Elementary Bucyrus, Ohio
March 22, 2013 OCTELA Conference Columbus, Ohio

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By LP Salas on October 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It seems like only yesterday that I was sharing Jane Yolen and Pat Lewis' Take Two: A Celebration of Twins. Well, they're back and better than ever.

Their new collaboration is Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs (Charlesbridge, 2012). If you have a somewhat morbid sense of humor (and most kids do), you will love this book! From a horse with (hay?) fever to an unfortunate kitty whose love for yarn led to her demise, these short, mostly-but-not-always rhyming poems will bring on a good laugh. Just don't choke on it!

Here are two favorites:

Chicken Crosses Over
She never found the answer
to the age-old question,
Why did the chicken cross the ro-?
-J. Patrick Lewis, all rights reserved

For a Frog: Not a Hoppy Ending
In his pond,
he peacefully soaked,
then, ever so quietly
croaked.
-Jane Yolen, all rights reserved

Dark and funny illustrations by Jeffrey Stewart Timmins are in questionable taste-perfect for this offbeat poetry collection.

(review copy provided by publisher)
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Format: Hardcover
This book of macabre poetry is fun and ghoulishly illustrated. It contains numerous poems on the demise of our beloved pets and animal companions. Each epitaph is short, bitter and to the point. It reminds me of the old horror books and records from in the Scholastic book flyers. Do you remember: "It wasn't the cough that carried her off. It was the coffin they carried her off in!" This modern version is just as fun and just as colorful as the books we loved to read and memorize to tell to all of our friends. I give this book 4 and a half skeletons!
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Format: Hardcover
This book was part of our book fair this year. It's puns were interesting and the illustrations are macabre, but lovely. I do not agree with the 8 - 12 age rating. While most of the images are darkly funny and a little Wile E. Coyote type violence, I found the deer committing suicide with a crossbow to be over the line. I definitely would pre-read this before giving it to a child and I wouldn't purchase for a child younger than 11 or 12.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book really appealed to my 8-year-old son, who enjoys reading about zombies and monsters, and other disgusting stuff (I mean that in a good way). I think this was his first introduction to dark comedy, and he loves it. The illustrations are filled with nice little details, and I can give a book no higher praise than to say that it inspired him to run off and write his own "animal epitaphs."
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