A striking exploration of the animal kingdom in bilingual poems.
Award-winning author/illustrator Paschkis’ free verse, bilingual animal poems are more than delightful. They tease and meander across the emotional spectrum. Some are whimsical: “Fat cat / naps on a map. / When she gets up / s h e s t r e t c h e s / from Arequipa to Zanzibar / and her belly bumps Topolobampo. / Elastic cat.” Others are more reflective: “Out of the darkness / an owl hoots. / An echo. // The night train / is leaving.” The English scans as well as the Spanish, which is noteworthy because the Spanish-language poems were written first—by an author who began teaching herself Spanish while illustrating a previous book, Monica Brown’s Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People (2011). Her deft touch has both languages whispering or laughing at each other across double-page spreads, as if inviting readers to cross a bridge of sound. The dynamic gouache illustrations are as integral to the poetry as the printed text. Stealth vocabulary, hand-written on leaves and ocean currents, swishes and swirls side by side, intent on conversations that are independent of the poems and the playful images cavorting around them.
Readers would be hard-pressed to find a snappier introduction to language appreciation, poetry and vocabulary enrichment. (author’s notes) (Bilingual picture book/poetry. 3-10)