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Lewis and Yolen team up for a darkly funny homage to the dearly departed-those with feathers, hooves, tails, and fins. An axe leans against a blood-stained stump while three feathers drift nearby ("Sorry, no leftovers," reads a turkey's epitaph), and a barracuda is destroyed by a superior predator: "My teeth were vicious;/ my bite was hateful./ A great white met me-/ the date was fateful." Timmins's bleak, blood-spattered palette and zombielike animals create an appropriately dismal environment for the funereal text; lovers of the macabre will cackle over these unfortunate demises. Ages 7-10. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr 4-6-Lewis and Yolen demonstrate their wit and punning skills in this collection of 31 short selections describing the demise of a variety of creatures, both domestic and wild. Each author supplied 15 poems; one is a collaboration. Cartoon-style animals on the volume's cover and the picture-book format belie the sophistication of the poetry and illustrations within. Timmins has used black, gray, and brownish inks with some touches of color (including plenty of blood red) to create the bizarre, sometimes grim or grotesque computerized scenes that are an integral part of each poem-a newt squashed flat on the road; a goose fried on an electric wire; a sick old horse drinking from a stream into which a sheep is defecating; a rooster's body protruding from a car's grille. Youngsters who can get past the book's theme and are able to understand and appreciate the "deadly" dark humor based on clever wordplay are in for a treat, for both poets are in great form. Some prime examples are: Yolen's "Firefly's Final Flight" (a poem in two words)-"Lights out." and Lewis's "Ciao Cow"-"This grave is peaceful,/the tombstone shaded,/but I'm not here-/I've been cream-ated." Poeticized animals also include barracuda, swordfish, rattlesnake, woodpecker, dog, skunk, bear, and others. Definitely a tad macabre, but original and inventive, just the same.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Welcome, boys and ghouls, to the pet cemetery. Here at Amen / Creature Corners, / beasties weep / like misty mourners, / but when they read / an epitaph, / it always brings them / one last laugh. So begins terminally terse poetry covering the sudden and often quite grim demises of 30 unlucky animals. Take, for instance, the hen that has just been hammered to death by three chicks: The end of her day / was in fowl play. Or how about the collection of milk cans stacked alongside an urn: This grave is peaceful, / the tombstone shaded, / but I'm not here / I've been cream-ated. Yes, this is a picture book, and heavens no, it is not appropriate for everyone. Timmins' brown-and-black-heavy Photoshop, ink, and gouache illustrations embellish each morbid rhyme with macabre images (warning: there will be blood) and facial details that turn each animal into a nightmare beast. Squeamish? Then stay away. But those itching to move beyond the positive messages and bright colors so ubiquitous in picture books will find this just the thing to elicit appreciative playground groans. Gallows humor at its finest.--Cummins, Julie Copyright 2010 Booklist