Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Review: Stardines Swim High Across the Sky and Other Poems, by Jack Prelutsky and Carin Berger

Stardines Swim High Across the Sky: and Other Poems
Here is a concept sure to appeal to any imaginative youngster: Jack Prelutsky, "having returned safely from far-flung places", brings us a collection of strange new creatures. We have the Slobsters:
SLOBSTERS are slovenly,
SLOBSTERS are crude.
SLOBSTERS love mashing
And smushing their food.
Or, the Sobcat:
The SOBCAT is sad
As a feline can be
And spends its time crying
Those are just excerpts of each descriptive poem, byt he way. You simply have to grab a copy of this to read on your own, and then pore over the details of Berger's illustrations. They are all dioramas, shadow boxes, and cut-paper collages, made up of "catalogues, old books, receipts, letters, and ticket stubs". If Prelutsky's poetry doesn't inspire your child to create a new creature or two in words, Berger's artwork is sure to have them grabbing the glue and scissors.
This is another one of those books that (almost) makes me wish I was teaching again. An entire week's worth of lesson plans could spring from this one delightful volume. Science - find the real animals that were changed slightly, and find out what they are really like. Research animals that really are hybrids of two other animals, or look for ways animals have adapted. Reading - oh, the vocabulary! Aqueous! Copious! Lachrymose! Plight! Social studies - why would you want a JOLLYFISH around, but not a TATTLESNAKE? Math - just consider the pleasant little WEDGEHOGS.
Yes, this is a book that belongs in every elementary classroom, and while poetry books in general do not circulate well here, I predict this one will be safe from weeding for a long, long time. Thank-you to HarperCollins for the review copy!

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