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ANIMAL FRIENDS by Michael Hague


A Collection of Poems for Children

illustrated by Michael Hague

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: April 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-8050-3817-5
Publisher: Henry Holt

Hague’s typically charming illustrations of a vaguely old-fashioned, pastoral world decorate 20 brief poems. Some of these are excerpts of longer works. Poets featured range from the clearly contemporary (Eileen Spinelli) to big names from the past (Robert Louis Stevenson and Christina Rossetti). Even Mother Goose appears. The poems’ appeal varies considerably. Spinelli’s verses, as well as the poems by Aileen Fisher, are expressive and engaging. Some of the other poems, however, seem unlikely to capture the interest of contemporary listeners. As is usual in Hague’s illustrations, this time created in pencil, ink and watercolor and digitally enhanced, there is a certain static quality. In most of the pictures, a child shares the space with an animal, large or small. Most often the child is sitting quietly and observing the animal rather than interacting with it. While there will certainly be an audience for this collection, it seems most likely to appeal to fans of the illustrator rather than those looking for good poems for young listeners. (Poetry. 3-6)