Likely to inspire more giggles than gasps; these hammy horrors are sure to please.



Mummy Pigs, Frankenswine and Werehogs…oh my!

"A thousand-foot pig breathing nuclear fire. / Gurgling gasps from a swamp's murky mire. / Sharp fangs and red eyes on pale porcine faces. / Dead zombies crawl out from foul-smelling places." Prolific illustrator and occasional scribe Cushman versifies classic movie and literary monsters in 18 single-page poems with accompanying movie-poster–inspired watercolor illustrations starring, of course, pigs rather than people. Plants from outer space (Pigweed), the Yeti (Abominable Snow Pig) and Pig Kong all enjoy the spotlight in turn. All entries are rhymed, though in various schemes, and each has a humorous twist beyond the punny titles. "I ride along the highway, / a demonic, devilish bat. / 'Tisn't just a head I want, / but a place to put my hat," says the swiney spirit in  "The Legend of Sleepy Wallow." Several sentences of notes about each poem in the "credits" at the back of the book detail the film or book or scene that inspired the verse and the picture, adding a layer of fun and information that may lead young spook seekers to the source material.

Likely to inspire more giggles than gasps; these hammy horrors are sure to please. (Poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-401-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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From snapping shrimp with bubble-shooting claws to the Osedax worm that digests whalebones on the ocean floor, intriguing and unusual sea creatures are introduced in this collection of 18 engaging poems written in a variety of forms. A paragraph or two of identification and explanation follow each poem. This attractive small volume is illustrated with hand-colored linoleum block prints set on a blue-green background that darkens page by page as the reader descends. “Dive In!” introduces the habitat, and, on the last page, “Hooray for the Sea and the ROV” celebrates the ocean and the vehicles humans use to explore its deepest parts. One piece calls for two voices, a leopard sea cucumber and an emperor shrimp. Shape poems introduce the violet snail and a swarm of krill. These poems lend themselves to reading aloud, and many are short and catchy enough to be easily memorized. Concluding with a helpful glossary, a clear explanation of the poetic forms that points out rhymes, patterns and beats, suggested further resources and acknowledgements, this is an ideal title for cross-curricular connections. This gathering of humorous poetry and fascinating facts should be welcomed as a companion to Bulion and Evans’ previous collaboration, Hey There, Stink Bug! (2006)—even the surprise among the school of krill on the endpapers will make readers smile. (Informational poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56145-565-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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“He called on me. / My answer’s wrong. / Caught like a squirrel / on an open lawn. / Standing alone, / twiddling my paws, / frozen in place, / working my jaws. / I’d like to bolt, / but where? / I moan. / Could anyone / be more / alone?” Poet, educator and storyteller Holbrook returns with a collection of 41 poems about school worries and classroom problems. Here readers find substitutes and pop quizzes, bullies and homework storms. Nearly half of the poems have appeared in previous collections, but here the white space around each poem is filled with poetry facts, definitions and challenges to get young poets writing. Some entries are more successful than others; a few have odd rhymes, others a jangle in the rhythm. The title, too, is quite misleading: There is only one zombie poem. However, the subjects will resonate, and the hints and tips will excite young writers whether they currently love poetry or not. Sandstrom’s serviceable pen, ink and faded watercolor spot illustrations are as hit-and-miss as the poems. This is good classroom poetry, though, if not verse for the ages. (Poetry. 9-11)



Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59078-820-2

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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