Jack Prelutsky is the best-selling author of more than fifty books of poetry, including The New Kid on the Block, illustrated by James Stevenson, and Stardines Swim High Across the Sky, illustrated by Carin Berger. Jack Prelutsky lives in Washington State. Peter Sis is an internationally acclaimed author, artist, and filmmaker. Among his works are three Caldecott Honor books: The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain; Tibet: Through the Red Box; and Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei. He has illustrated five other novels by Sid Fleischman, including the Newbery Medal book The Whipping Boy. He lives with his family in New York State.
Gr 2-5-Prelutsky introduces the curious inhabitants of Scranimal Island through his skillful and captivating poems. The creatures, such as the Mangorilla and Orangutangerine, are each a cross between an animal and a fruit, vegetable, or flower, and behave accordingly. For instance, "On a bump beside a road/Sits a lowly POTATOAD,/Obviously unaware/Of its own existence there./On its coarse and warty hide,/It has eyes on every side,/Eyes that fail, apparently,/To take note of what they see." S's's illustrations are a wonderful combination of the eerie and humorous (readers might be reminded of his fantastical island in Komodo! [Greenwillow, 1993]), and give children a visual clue as to the creature's elements, in case they haven't figured it out yet. (A rebus-like chart on the back cover is more explicit, illustrating "potato + toad = potatoad", etc.) Hippopotamushrooms smile benevolently from their forest floor, the Pandaffodil munches bamboo beatifically, majestic Broccolions stalk the lithe Antelopetunia. These black-line and watercolor illustrations in a light palette take up three-quarters of each spread; the verses, in large and legible black type, accompany them on a pastel-tinged antique paper background. On occasion on this island, readers may come across a creature that is a cross of two animals (no plant matter involved), such as the Ostricheetah or the Stormy Petrelephant. Though as eloquently described, they are simply not as funny as the Porcupineapple or the Avocadodos, and somehow spoil the fun. The point of nonsense, after all, is to stick to the rules-just, the wrong rules. Nevertheless, Prelutsky and S's have pulled off something great here-it is their best collaboration to date.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.