We are mad for poet-painter Douglas Florian. We were buzzed by Insectlopedia
, moony for Mammalabilia
, and batty for his other beautifully biological, biologically beautiful books as well. We love Florian for his clever, downright shameless wordplay. One of our favorite poems in Lizards, Frogs, and Polliwogs
is "The Wood Frog":
I am a frozen frogsicle.
I froze beneath a logsicle.
My mind is in a fogsicle
Inside this icy bogsicle.
My temperature is ten degrees.
I froze my nose, my toes, my knees.
But I don't care, I feel at ease,
For I am full of antifreeze.
Another favorite is "The Polliwogs:"
We shake in lakes,
To turn ourselves
Into a frog.
We love Florian equally for his playful paintings that manage to be visual puns as well as suitable-for-framing pieces of art. A subtle and delightful use of color combine with brilliant composition and some collage work to create a marvelous menagerie--this time accompanying 21 reptile and amphibian poems. Neither cobra nor chameleon escape pun-ishment from this talented wordsmith. We will patiently await the next beastly poetic parade from Florian! (Ages 5 to 10) --Karin Snelson
From Publishers Weekly
Like Florian's Insectlopedia and Mammalabilia, this volume contains witty poems filled with comic word play--this time about 21 scaly, slimy creatures. With the droll verbal dexterity of J. Patrick Lewis and the just slightly naughty humor of Jack Prelutsky, Florian regales his readers with unexpected rhymes. "It's wise to stay clear/ Of the dangerous cobra," he warns, "all the months of the year,/ Including Octobra." A picture of a costumed child holding a jack-o'-lantern is accompanied by the verse "I wouldn't wanna/ Be an iguana--/ Except for Halloween." From the Midwife Toad ("On Dad's back the eggs are toted./ To his kids he's toadally devoted") to the Poison-Dart Frogs, Florian finds mischievous reptile lore that will make young readers laugh. At first glance his illustrations seem less varied than in the previous books, but these bug-eyed amphibians have a low-key style of their own. The newt reads the "Newt News" paper, and the Glass Frog camouflaged on a leaf labels various parts of the painting either "me" or "leaf." The medium is different, too: here Florian uses watercolors and collage elements atop brown paper bags. The warm, familiar tones and soft lines belie the idiosyncrasy of the compositions--these frogs and friends don't necessarily jump out at readers, but continually take them by surprise. Ages 5-10.
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