A WHIFF OF PINE, A HINT OF SKUNK by Deborah Ruddell
Kirkus Star

A WHIFF OF PINE, A HINT OF SKUNK

A Forest of Poems
by , illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 10

KIRKUS REVIEW

Twenty-three evocative poems about forest animals, beautifully illustrated. Literary variety serves this collection well, with many different lengths, rhyme schemes and moods. The common elements in Ruddell’s verse are economy and an observer’s respect for her subjects. Deer horns are “velvet crowns,” and even the humorous poem about the beaver (“True Believer / Waterproof Weaver / Overachiever / Roll-Up-Her-Sleever”) is praiseful. She avoids the cute and obvious metaphor; rather than trotting out tired masked-bandit imagery, she instead pictures the raccoon regarding his reflection: “the mysterious mask / the whiskers beneath, / the sliver of cricket / still stuck in his teeth.” Other subjects include snails, a salamander, a raccoon and a hoot owl, “working on his timing / and his quavery technique.” Similarly, Rankin’s watercolors show respect via their accuracy and detail, while still capturing the various flavors of the poems. Her caroling coyotes look appropriately scruffy, and her feuding woodpeckers are sublimely hotheaded. A wild turkey glares at a child’s hand-tracing portrait; a toad regrets eating “the slug-on-a-stick.” An excellent collection with broad age appeal. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: March 10th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4169-4211-5
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2009




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