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Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs Hardcover – July 1, 2012
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
*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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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
-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)