Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Stardines Swim High Across the Sky and Other Poems

Stardines Swim High Across the Sky and Other Poems

Jack Prelutsky
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
HarperCollins, 2013   ISBN: 978-0062014641

When we look up at the stars at night we are frequently tempted to imagine what those stars look like. Children often imagine that they are golden star-shaped objects that hang in the darkness, sending their twinkling light across the universe. In this book the author gives us a very different description of stars, one that is delightfully unique and imaginative. The poet tells us about stardines, which “still twinkle” overhead when other creatures are asleep. These stellar “nocturnal fish” not only “illuminate the darkest skies,” but they also “grant the slightest wish.”

   You may have heard of cormorants, but have you ever heard of a chormorant? Prepare yourself because these birds are well worth knowing about. Unlike cormorants, who occupy their time doing normal bird things, chormorants work hard doing “senseless” chores all day long. Theirs is not a happy existence filled as it is with “endless drudgery.” Not surprisingly, the birds, who never do anything that could be considered fun, are dreadfully boring.

   Unlike the busy chormorants, plandas never really get anything done because they spend all their time planning and never doing. They plan all kinds of things, like running a marathon, learning how to juggle, and forming their own brass bands. Alas for plandas because they never do any of these wonderful things. Instead, they “just keep making plans.”

   Braindeer have something in common with plandas. These creatures are great thinkers and their brains are packed with knowledge and “lots of sense.” They think deep and meaningful thoughts, “Reflecting on the universe.” There is a problem though, for braindeers cannot share their ideas as they cannot speak or write, and thus “Their thinking is for naught.”

   Readers who have active imaginations are going to find this collection of poems intriguing. In each case something inanimate is blended with something inanimate to give us a creature that is bizarre, often amusing, and always interesting. In all there are twenty-four species, and each one is quite unique.

   Throughout the book the poems are accompanied by delightful collage artwork that combines drawn pictures with photos of objects to give readers beautiful and creative three-dimensional artwork to look at.