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About the Author

DOUGLAS FLORIAN is the creator of many acclaimed picture books, including lizards, frogs, and polliwogs; insectlopedia; and bow wow meow meow. He lives in New York City.


Gr 2-5-A collection of 25 poems with accompanying primitive, childlike paintings, this book follows the format and style Florian has used so successfully in Beast Feast (1994) and Insectlopedia (1998, both Harcourt). These verses, however, are more reminiscent of the silly wordplay of Ogden Nash. Readers will find a variety of rhyme schemes; meters; and forms featuring puns, concrete poems, litanies, and lists. A large painting, done in gouache on primed brown paper bags, appears on one side of the double page with a poem set on the other. The artist's renderings draw readers into the poem and invite repeated viewings after reading the verse. Pair this title with Mary Ann Hoberman and Malcah Zeldis's A Fine Fat Pig (HarperCollins, 1991) to show children the diversity of images that animals may evoke for poets and artists. Florian has created a zoological garden of delights.-Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Like Florian's Insectlopedia, this collection of 21 short light verse brims with whimsy and fun. He plays with the double A in aardvark ("Aardvarks look better/ By faar in the daark") and the growling R in an ode to the tiger. In "The Bactrian Camel" the entire text of the poem forms the shape of a camel's back: "Mr. Bactrian, a question for you--about your back: one lump or two?" Many of the entries are one-liners--"Some people wear fur coats of lynx./ I/ think/ that/ stynx." More developed verse recalls Ogden Nash ("I state more emphatic:/ An otter's aquatic"). Florian's humor is eccentric, but just right for his target audience. The gouache illustrations painted on primed brown paper bags, full of unusual textures and inventive designs, match the creativity of the word play. The otter lounges in a claw-foot bathtub reading a book titled H2O. Florian specializes in the unexpected. For instance, the rhebok stands in its tennis shoes because its "main/ Claim to fame/ Is its name." The artwork taps into childlike qualities without being simplistic; the animal portraits are clever yet appropriate. An irresistible homage to mammal memorabilia. Ages 5-10. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

[star] "Florian has created a zoological garden of delights."
--School Library Journal (starred review)

[star] "Florian once again tickles his readers. . . . Superb . . . although this classes as
a book of poetry, it's equally a book of art."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) [star] "Brims with whimsy and fun."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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