The Swamps of Sleethe

Common Sense Media says

This grim collection is too scary for the youngest kids.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Violence

Nearly every poem ends with a gruesome death.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this strange little book may disturb some sensitive kids. Nearly every poem ends with a gruesome death.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

It's hard to determine who's the target for this grim little collection. Sure, it's kind of humorous at first, but eventually the relentless gloom becomes overwhelming. Nearly every single poem ends with someone dead or disfigured. Is there really any reason kids need to imagine a planet that leaves them "disemboweled" by birds who "pick apart your face"? Or one where children are processed into pet food? The collection is topped with a final poem sure to put the nail in the proverbial coffin. It gives kids an ugly, pessimistic, and depressing vision of their own home planet.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Sure, Prelutsky is talented -- he's the Poetry Foundation's Children's Poet Laureate for a reason -- but he must have put together this collection on a really lousy day. A little more humor and a little less negativity might have saved the book but as it is, it's not something you want kids to grab off the shelf for a little pre-bedtime reading.

The illustrations are appropriate to the content -- smart, sometimes funny, and always creepy. Maybe the best way to read this book is to dip in and out. Maybe a poem or two in the afternoon while the sun is shining and all is mostly right in the world. Kind of like avoiding a horror moving when no one is home and it's storming -- it's all about context.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes a good poem. For kids who are used to thinking that every poem needs to be about a sunset or spring, this collection might be a revelation to encourage their own creativity. Kids may be inspired to sit down and write their own horror-style poems.

Book details

Author:Jack Prelutsky
Genre:Poetry
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Knopf
Publication date:March 10, 2009
Number of pages:40
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Read aloud:9
Read alone:12

This review of The Swamps of Sleethe was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential Apps Guide