Big Bad and Scary

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Big Bad and Scary

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Always be kind to animals,
Morning, noon and night.
For animals have feelings, too
And furthermore, they bite!
— John Gardner

About

Bristling with sly humor and just a hint of danger, this irresistible collection of poems pays homage to everyone's favorite members of the animal kingdom-the bullies! Readers will squirm with delight as snakes, alligators, panthers, vultures, sharks, and more slither, stalk, and swoop their way through the pages. Award-winning artist Wade Zahares captures this lyrical bestiary of ne'er do-wells-from such celebrated poets as Ogden Nash, Eve Merriam, and Dick-King Smith-in stunning full-color illustrations. Ferociously fun and ideal for reading aloud, Big, Bad, and a Little Bit Scary is sure to be treasured by animal lovers and poetry lovers alike.

 

Product Details

Age Range: 5 and up
Grade Level: Preschool and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (September 10, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0670035130
ISBN-13: 978-0670035137
Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 10 x 0.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
Average Customer Review:
4.5 out of 5 stars

 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Zahares's (Window Music) boldly illustrated compilation of animal poems is a trip to the zoo and the haunted house wrapped into one. His full-bleed illustrations of the arctic tundra, ocean depths, jungle and swamp provide the backdrop for this forbidding collection of verse. Large, menacing eyes and open mouths of piranha seem to protrude into readers' space for Dick King-Smith's "Strippers": "They'll strip off your flesh like you'd skin a banana./ There's no time for screaming, there's no time for groans./ In forty-five seconds you're nothing but bones." The looming, ominous shadow of another predator hovers above a mouse for Russell Hoban's "Sparrow Hawk": "Below, the field mouse, where the shadow glides,/ Holds fast the small purse of his life, and hides." A frog tries to escape a similar fate in Eve Merriam's "Viper." Zahares pictures pointy reptilian scales and forked tongue tantalizingly close to the amphibian. Respite from the frightening passages comes from other poets, including Karla Kuskin ("A porcupine looks somewhat silly./ He also is extremely quilly./ .../ I would not want a porcupine/ To be my loving valentine") and Ogden Nash ("If called by a panther,/ Don't anther"). Zahares's captivating illustrations, in a unifying palette of cool blue and green hues, will bring readers as close as they may care to come to creatures that make everyone's pulse race a little faster. Ages 5-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

School Library Journal

Gr 1-5-Animals with fangs, sharp teeth, and powerful jaws are celebrated here. The final lines of the opening poem, "Always Be Kind to Animals" by John Gardner, give readers a taste of what to expect from the rest of this book: "For animals have feelings too,/And furthermore they bite!" From Eve Merriam's "Viper" to Dick King-Smith's "Strippers," which highlights the gruesome powers of piranhas, the selections examine creatures that would never be considered cuddly and cute. The entertaining, humorous poems will appeal to readers who think that poetry is drab and dull, and the selections are easy and fun to read aloud. The double-page spreads come to life with large, lush paintings of grimacing eels and curious vultures. Zahares's illustrations highlight the features that make the animals so fearsome, such as the barracuda's saw-blade teeth and the octopus's powerful tentacles. The art captures the dark hues of evening, a time when readers may be most fearful. This innovative collection, which focuses on animals that exist in nightmares instead of happy dreams, will appeal to readers who are looking for poems with bite.

Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


Booklist

Ages 5-8. Zahares gathers 15 poems about "big, bad, and a little bit scary" land and sea creatures and illustrates each selection with pastels on a large, double-page spread. Authors of the short, often pithy verse range from John Gardner, D. H Lawrence, and Maxine Kumin to Mary Ann Hoberman and Dick King-Smith. The pictures are varied in composition and muted in color, with Zahares achieving some intriguing highlighting effects, especially in the many night and underwater scenes. Teachers looking for animal poems to read aloud may be interested in this collection; the verse is well chosen and the artwork is particularly effective when seen from a little distance. Carolyn Phelan
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