Friday, February 20, 2009

Poetry Book Review: mammalabilia


Written and Illustrated by: Douglas Florian

Publisher: Harcourt Books, 2000

ISBN: 0-15-202167-1


A New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year
ABA's Pick of the LIsts
A Horn Book Fanfare Selection
An IRA-CBC Children's Choice
A New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
An Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award Winner
A Parent's Guide Children's Medai Award Winner
A Parenting Reading Mgic Award
A Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book for Children


This colorful and fun collection of poetry features furry mammals. A variety of fun mammals are described in entertaining poems that will often make the reader laugh out loud. Often the text is arranged on the page to resemble the animal it is describing (See "The Porcupine" on page 45). This technique adds another unique feature to an already extremely appealing book. The colorful illustrations that accompany each poem will enhance the reader's delight as they read and enjoy each poem.

My Thoughts About this Book:

I first became aware of Douglas Florian's poems when beast feast was a Texas Bluebonnet nominee several years ago. Since then, I have enjoyed reading his poems to students, who find them every bit as entertaining as I do. mammalabilia is one of my favorite collections. I'm sure one of the main reasons I enjoy is because I have always been a big fan of the mammals. I spent many summers working at the Fort Worth Zoo as a Zoo School Teacher, and this would have been an excellent resource to have used in the classes I taught. Many of the short, fun poems featured in the book are perfect to memorize and recite, and would have helped add to the zoo experience as I led my class to the animal we were observing.

The book is appealing in the way it is put together from the beautiful full color illustrations to the fun poetry that works perfectly with each picture. In a few words, Douglas Florian captures the essence of each animal, and the reader almost expects to see the illustrations leap from the page at them. I love how he often uses the text of the poem to "draw" the animal as well, forming camel humps or porcupine quills to present the poem in a fun format.

This book is an excellent addition to any poetry collection--particularly one that belongs to someone who is an animal lover! mammalabilia is well deserving of the numerous honors it has accumulated.

Review Excerpt:

From School Library Journal: "The artist's renderings draw readers into the poem and invite repeated viewings after reading the verse. Pair this title with Mary Ann Hoberman and Malcah Zeldis's A Fine Fat Pig (HarperCollins, 1991) to show children the diversity of images that animals may evoke for poets and artists. Florian has created a zoological garden of delights."

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