Author: compiled by Laura Whipple
A generously illustrated collection of poems by a variety of authors, describing the peculiarities and charms of pets as well as both wild and domestic animals. Eric Carle is noted for his depiction of animals and this colorful anthology contains some of his finest works.
STARRED REVIEW “Carle’s distinctive tissue paper collages bring brilliance and verve to this excellent anthology of poems which conveys the wonder and diversity of the animal world. From the four-page spread for the huge blue whale to ten tiny, flickering fireflies, the book presents a thoughtful paring of art and poetry, with verse ranging from Japanese Haiku and Native American poetry to shorter works by Kipling, Nash, Viorst, and a host of others. For some illustrations, Carle uses only a plain white background to set off his colorful animals; for others, a few brush strokes create a deep sea setting, desert landscapes, or bright green pastures. Happily, the selection of poems is equal to the strength and simplicity of Carle’s art, ranging from humorous to gentle to wonderfully descriptive. Although many of the poems can be found in other sources, the eye-catching appeal of these illustrations will help to make this collection of poetry a favorite for both reading aloud and individual enjoyment.”
– by Susan Schuller, School Library Journal November, 1989
“Exuberantly illustrated by Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar:), this collection of animal poems contains many pleasant surprises. Benjamin Franklin observes, “What is a butterfly? At best/He’s but a caterpillar dressed,” and Clarence Day reports, “The ant is knowing and wise; but/he doesn’t know enough to take a vacation.” “A discovery!” announces Yaku in a haiku. “On my frog’s smooth green belly/There sits no button.” Meanwhile, Carle’s brilliant patchwork of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish and insects parades up and down tree trunks, alongside cityscapes and—most memorably—is enfolded in the billowing currents of oceans. Seeing and evoking all with a childlike, primitive verve, the illustrator depicts his menagerie at full tilt, with sensuous succulence. All ages.”
– Publishers Weekly, July 28, 1989
“First, a word for the anthologist: the 62 poems Whipple has assembled as companions to Carle’s flamboyant art are so splendid that they could easily stand alone: such greats as Dickinson, Sandburg, and Kipling appear along with numerous children’s favorites—e.g. Worth, Behn, Coatsworth. Mostly familiar, they also include a few surprises and some international entries. Altogether, they are so good that on first reading the yen to share them aloud is even greater than the yen to share the art—rich and wonderful as it is.
Carle’s technique—collages of textured, translucent tissue paper that he prepares himself, combined with directly painted areas—is familiar from his deservedly popular picture books (The Very Hungry Caterpillar: 6,000,000 copies). In this generously sized volume, it is used to full advantage. There’s plenty of visual variety—a whale that stretched over two double spreads; a giraffe for which the book is turned 90 degrees; a few pages where several poems appear (each with its own small illustration); as well as many grand double spreads of creatures from tawny camels marching over the desert to a glorious blue-and-green hippo. No author index, but there is an index of animals as well as an index of first lines. A treat!”
– Kirkus, July 1, 1989