ALPHABEASTS by Dick King-Smith


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 6 & up
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An author of popular animal fantasies proves that he's as witty a poet as he is a storyteller--here, prefacing 26 comical verse portraits with four somewhat more sober quatrains recalling species that have "shot their bolt and had their chips/And run their course and breathed their last." Whether it's the anaconda ("If he can eat explorers who accost him in Brazil,/As is the Anaconda's wont, the anaconda will") or the X-ray fish (who "has no kind of privacy at all./Though it may wish and wish you couldn't do it,/The fact remains that you can see right through it"), these sketches are a winning blend of curious facts and flights of fancy. Originally written for Punch, much of the phrasing is engagingly British; and much of the fun is in the perfect placement of "difficult" words. Like Jeanne Steig, whose wonderful Consider the Lemming (1988) had similar appeals, King-Smith rejoices in a perfect illustrator: Blake's freewheeling pen deftly captures the lively beasts (rueful, bemused, or gleeful) plus a number of entertainingly caricatured human observers. Splendid fun. (Poetry/Picture book. 6+)
Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1992
ISBN: 0-02-750720-3
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1992


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