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by Lois Ehlert & illustrated by Lois Ehlert

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: May 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-15-206274-3
Publisher: Harcourt

Ehlert’s latest juxtaposes riveting, super-stylized cut-paper collages with uneven verses about animals from insects to mammals. While a few spry textual gems stand out, the majority underwhelms in both technique and substance. “Duck” epitomizes the best of the menagerie—slightly awkward in construction, but sweetly metaphoric: “A duck lays down / its sleepy head / upon its breast— / a feather bed.” Some verses are jarringly brief—“Leave / a rat / where / it’s at”—while clunky scansion or tired sentiments mar others—“If you eat / like a pig, / sooner or later, / you will be big.” Employing nine shapes, pinking shears and a hole punch, the artist distills each animal’s attributes, often by exaggerating them, and makes her collages pop by layering opposing colors of equal tonality. A stingray’s prominent eyes are pairs of blue circles on day-glow orange ones, while a flamingo’s pink, orange and red shapes pulse against a grass-green background. Alas, Ehlert’s brilliantly conceived and stunningly executed graphics shine far brighter than her text. (Picture book. 3-6)