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WHAT'S FOR DINNER? by Katherine B. Hauth Kirkus Star


Quirky, Squirmy Poems from the Animal World

by Katherine B. Hauth, illustrated by David Clark

Age Range: 8 & up

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-57091-471-3
Publisher: Charlesbridge

The conclusion of this volume’s title poem—“finding food / is not a joke. / Living things must eat / or croak”—with its blunt appraisal of the whey of the world per se, sets the tone of Hauth and Clark’s graphic exploration of who eats what. As the poet delicately surveys the somewhat unsavory aspects of survival, the illustrator’s hilarious watercolor-and-ink renderings defuse the deadliness of the subject matter. The result is an enriching overview of the natural world spiced with a Dorothy Parker–esque sense of the macabre that children will absolutely relish. A telling example is “Waste Management,” in which a light treatment of the turkey vulture’s carrion-loving ways—“It likes to feast before the worms, / which saves us all from stink and germs”—is dramatized. Serenely smiling, it pulls ruby, taffy-like sinews from a ribcage while a tiny fly rests on the tip of a cloven hoof separated from its former haunches by a bloody tire track. Other poems look at the wildly diverse ways in which organisms lure or capture their prey; still others break down sophisticated concepts like symbiosis and parasitism in brilliantly accessible terms. Delectable poetic lessons on the food chain designed to help young readers rather literally digest the natural world. (notes on scientific terms and animals discussed, further reading) (Picture book/poetry. 8 & up)