THE CAT AND THE CUCKOO by Ted Hughes

THE CAT AND THE CUCKOO

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 11

KIRKUS REVIEW

Quirky, clever, mysterious, and lyrical poems about 28 wild and domestic farm animals comprise this collection, originally published (by Sunstone Press, with different illustrations) in England in 1997. A lonely ram bleats at the moon, a hedgehog hatches fleas. A dog sleeps: “He hogs the fire, he bakes his head / As if it were a loaf of bread. / He’s just a sack of snoring dog. / You can lug him like a log. / You can roll him with your foot. / He’ll stay snoring where he’s put. / Take him out for exercise / He’ll roll in cowclap up to his eyes.” The pigeons are more elegant: “Up on the roof the Fantail Pigeons dream / Of dollops of curled cream. / At every morning window their soft voices / Comfort all the bedrooms with caresses.” Hughes’s slightly mismatched rhyme and meter lend an awkward charm to his subjects. McDonnell’s (Giddy Up! Let’s Ride, 2002, etc.) whimsical and folksy duotone paintings portray each animal in a countryside setting, sometimes with a human child or two observing; combined with the small-cut size of the volume, they give a comforting feel to these poems that sometimes veer wonderfully into dark animal thoughts. Similar in intrigue to the animal poems of Richard Michelson or Douglas Florian, similar in insight to the “small” poems of Valerie Worth, Hughes’s poems are rich and musical, and will appeal to young readers. The few Briticisms may be as foreign to some American readers as the setting—yet neither detracts, as each poem encourages readers to observe something in a new way. (Poetry. 7-11)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7613-1548-9
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Roaring Brook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2003




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