DID ADAM NAME THE VINAGARROON? by X. J. Kennedy

DID ADAM NAME THE VINAGARROON?

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This out-of-the-way alpha bestiary begins fittingly with archeopteryx, ""the great-grand-daddy bird"" who first took flight ""a hundred forty million years/Before it could be heard/By yours or mine or any ears. . . ."" Kennedy pauses with Noah as the Ark hoists anchor: ""His two Jerboa/Jumped for their lives, just made the boat,/And hit the deck thud! thud!--/Then Noah stroked his beard and smiled,/ ""All right now, let it flood.'"" Other verses range from the common but not humble fly--"". . . Defiant of our swatters,/Along our chocolate eclairs/They strut, the cocky squatters""--to the fanciful title creature: ""The vinagarroon, a scorpion/ With jaws like little sickles,/When filled with feelings of alarm/Emits the smell of pickles."" Overall, the verses are light and clever, often amusing (""The Roc, when snacks are what it wants,/Instead of flying solo/Will carry off whole elephants./Who says so? Marco Polo""), and sometimes strained (at worst, in a pun on a spotted cat called the ounce). Selig, meanwhile, goes off on her own with cold juxtapositions, odd foreshortened perspectives, and, just as inexplicably, the same cute terrier in several pictures. The book's design gives the collection a stylish look, but the poems' small virtues would be better served with unpretentious humor.

Pub Date: Sept. 2nd, 1982
Publisher: Godine