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ANIMALS THAT OUGHT TO BE by Richard Michelson


by Richard Michelson & illustrated by Leonard Baskin

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-689-80635-3
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

 A collection of 14 jaunty poems about unusual pets, for ``sometimes when I lie in bed/fantastic creatures fill my head./Animals you never see./Animals that ought to be.'' Michelson and Baskin (the team behind Did You Say Ghosts?, 1993) introduce readers to the Nightnoise Gladiator, who fends off things that go bump in the night; the I'm-All-Ears, to eavesdrop on and pass along conversations normally out of earshot; the Talkback Bat, who says everything children would if they weren't sure they'd be punished. Students will especially appreciate the Backpack Snacker, who specializes in homework assignments: ``She gobbled up my grammar/and I can't believe she ate/the last page of my book report,/but believe me, it was great.'' The poems have a delightful musical quality, the lilt punctuated by an occasional twist of the unexpected--the Nightmare Scarer terrifies the one he came to save, the Sweeteater ``burped and ate my dad.'' Each clever poem is accompanied by watercolor interpretations that swing from a gargoyle effect to faunal mug shots. (Picture book. 5-8)