Poet Jack Prelutsky again pairs up with two-time Caldecott Honor artist Peter Sís to create Scranimal Island, a fantastical, off-the-map place inhabited by unusual animals from Hippopotamushrooms to Potatoads to a pride of Broccolions. A boy and girl on a scooter, equipped with essentials from umbrella to inner tube, fly from habitat to habitat over Sís's dreamy, mountainous landscapes à la Tibet: Through the Red Box
. They make their way through the clutch of Spinachickens, past the Camelberta Peaches to the "Sweet Porcupineapple, / Unflappable chap, / You happily amble / All over the map." Prelutsky's biological inventions are as clever as they are silly, and it's wonderful that kids are allowed to figure out the hybrid themselves in Rhinocerose, Cardinalbacore, etc. Prelutsky's glee is contagious, and kids will get a kick out of the wordplay in poems like "Oh Sleek Bananaconda": "You slither on your belly, / And you slither on your chin. / You're only unappealing / As you shed your slinky skin." Pronunciation guides for each creature garnish each page, in case you can't pronounce Toucanemones right off the bat, and an iconic guide to the island's animals adorns the table of contents page. Gorgeous endpapers reveal Sís's map of Scranimal Island and its curious denizens. It's impossible to pick a favorite, between the unbelievably cute Pandaffodil and the detested Radishark. Highly recommended. (Ages 6 to 10) --Karin Snelson
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From Publishers Weekly
The meisters of madcap are at it again. This time, Prelutsky and Sis (The Dragons Are Singing Tonight) head off on safari to Scranimal Island, an exotic spot full of odd hybrid creatures just ripe for their devious brand of silliness. Whether tracking a caravan of Camelberta Peaches ("All have humpy, bumpy backs, Stocked with water, juice, and snacks, So the creatures never need Wonder where to drink or feed"), avoiding the clutches of the dread Radishark ("Its appalling, bulbous body Is astonishingly red, And its fangs are sharp and gleaming In its huge and horrid head") or spying on the Bananaconda ("How sinuous and sly you are, How slippery, how yellow"), they scramble up a smorgasbord of flora and fauna. Prelutsky tweaks language with his characteristic glee, wedging in plenty of humor ("Poor Avocadodos, Ungainly and green, You're gone from today's Biological scene") and, as always when Si s is on board, his exquisite artistry raises the bar, adding depth to Prelutsky's light verse. Plying his trademark delicate line and crosshatching, Si s sets off the fantastic creatures against spare, expansive vistas, investing the muted ink-and-watercolor illustrations with a quizzically visionary style. A pair of brightly clad young explorers lurk at the edge of each scene, adding a droll visual grace note. All ages.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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