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THE ANIMAL RESCUE STORE by Elizabeth Swados

THE ANIMAL RESCUE STORE

By Elizabeth Swados (Author) , Anne Wilson (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 10

Pub Date: March 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-439-55476-4
Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

The author’s background in writing and composing for the theater is evident in this unusual collection of poetry that begs to be read aloud in dramatic voices or acted out as a class play. The 21 poems form a narrative arc that describes the inhabitants of a combination animal-rescue center and pet store, a fantastic sort of shelter that will take in a llama or a lobster. The unnamed narrator, usually an African-American teenaged boy who seems to be a helper at the shelter, introduces the owner of the store and a wide variety of potential pets. Swados uses stream-of-consciousness musings, invented words and animals sounds, snappy conversations and wildly imaginative characterizations to give the storeowner and each animal a unique personality. She isn’t afraid to use rap conventions, near-rhymes or incorrect grammar when it suits the narrator, and she doesn’t worry too much about her rhyme schemes or use of commas. Somehow, it all works together, enhanced by Wilson’s vibrant illustrations, bright background colors and a jazzy design. (Poetry. 5-10)