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BIG, BAD AND A LITTLE BIT SCARY by Wade Zahares Kirkus Star


Poems That Bite Back!

edited by Wade Zahares & illustrated by Wade Zahares

Age Range: 5 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-670-03513-0
Publisher: Viking

“WARNING!” says the jacket flap; “This book contains wild animals!” Indeed it does in a stunning collection of poems by first-rate poets that is enlivened by full-page electric-hued paintings sure to show up across a room as well as dazzle up close. The topic—scary animals—is dear to school-aged children, but appropriately, lest the book appear to demonize animals, the opening poem is John Gardner’s “Always Be Kind to Animals,” for “Animals have feelings too, / And furthermore they bite!” Healthy respect, coupled with fascination with the unknown, the unusual, the gross, and the dangerous, informs most of the poems. Dick King-Smith’s “If you fall into a river that’s full of Piranha, / They’ll strip off your flesh like you’d skin a banana” is accompanied by glowing yellow fish, toothy mouths open wide. Poets include Eve Merriam, Maxine Kumin, Ogden Nash (“if called by a panther, / don’t anther”), Russell Hoban, Mary Ann Hoberman, Hilaire Belloc, Karla Kuskin, Valerie Worth, D.H. Lawrence, William Jay Smith, and others. Animals include the viper, alligator, hawk, shark, lion, vulture, eel, octopus, barracuda, and the bat. Wild and wonderful. (Picture book/poetry. 5-12)