The Beauty of the Beast: Poems From the Animal Kingdom

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Beauty of the Beast: Poems From the Animal Kingdom Book Poster Image
One of the best collections of poetry ever.

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age 7+
Based on 1 review

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is one of the best poetry and art collections available for children.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byhadaway13 October 5, 2019

Parent of 4

This book was great! Kids read it every night and ask for it to be read to them constantly. Well written with appropriate age-level vocabulary.

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What's the story?

This stunning volume of poems about animals, accompanied by a profusion of tiny watercolor paintings, is one of the best collections ever. Both poems and art are intelligent yet simple and may inspire children to try some writing and painting of their own. Jack Prelutsky has selected more than 200 poems from over a hundred twentieth-century poets. All the poems are about animals, arranged by classification: insects, sea life, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Each section begins with a haiku by Prelutsky.

Some of the poets, such as Eve Merriam, Robert Frost, and Randall Jarrell, are familiar, while many others are less well known. All the poems are brief and accessible, though not necessarily created for children, and they run the gamut from whimsical and charming to thoughtful and poignant. The poems are surrounded by a profusion of simple watercolor paintings showing the creatures and impressions of their habitats. Includes title and author indexes.

Is it any good?

This marvelous collection is a boon to any teacher or parent wanting to introduce children to poetry. The poems and pictures are perfectly matched; both are lovely in their simplicity, and appeal to a wide range of ages and interests. The wealth of sounds, images, and ideas ensure that kids find something new and fascinating in repeated readings. This is a book not to be read through from beginning to end, but to be savored poem by poem.

Jack Prelutsky's wide reading and his respect for children are evident here; the selections are intelligent and perfect for children. There are no cutesy poems, none that condescend, and few chestnuts. A wealth of simple, impressionistic watercolors surround the poems. Children may be inspired to make their own watercolor pictures after looking at Meilo So's creations.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the different poems. Which ones do you enjoy the most? What's appealing about them? Parents can help kids compare and contrast rhythm and imagery. Children may want to paint their own images of animals.

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