Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Douglas Florian
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2004   ISBN: 978-0152050245

Many of us are able to identify with mammals, perhaps because our pets are usually mammals. They are furry, have four legs, and give birth to live babies. Some of them even look a little like us, and we love to read stories about them.

   In this poetry collection poet and artist, Douglas Florian, introduces us to a wide variety of mammals, pairing clever little poems with his unique artwork. The poems come in many forms. There are rhyming poems, blank verse poems, concrete poems, and some of the poems contain word play elements that readers will find amusing.

   Our mammalian visit begins with the aardvark, which is without a doubt, a very odd animal. They are so odd that the poet believes that “Aardvarks look better / By far in the daark.” He is more complimentary about the ibex which “risk their necks / On scary, airy mountain treks,” and he thinks otters are “quite charismatic.”

   As they explore this book readers will enjoy ‘listening in’ when the poet asks a Bactrian camel a very important question, and they will find out what he thinks of gorillas, porcupines, the elephant, lemurs, and other mammals from around the world.

   This is one in a series of poetry books about animals that Douglas Florian has created.