Friday, September 9, 2011

Poetry Friday: A review of There's a babirusa in my bathtub

For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by animals. They come in such an amazing variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, and they have such interesting adaptations and behaviors. When I was sixteen I went and worked at the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust for a summer. I worked in the garden that supplied food for the animals, I cleaned cages, I prepared food, and I ended up having quite a few adventures. On one occasion a babirusa decided that he did not want me in his paddock and he proceeded to chase me out of it at full speed. Thankfully I got out of the gate in time.

Today I have a poetry title that looks at thirteen unusual animal species, including the babirusa.


Maxine Rose Schur
Illustrated by Michael S. Maydak
Poetry and Nonfiction
For ages 7 to 9
Dawn Publications, 2009, 978-1-58469-118-1
   Most of us know about cats and dogs, horses and zebras. We have seen giraffes in a zoo, and elephants at the circus. We think we know a lot about animals, but what about the babirusa, civet, kinkajou, matamata, and tamandua. Do you know anything about these animals?
   In this fascinating and entertaining book, Maxine Rose Schur combines poems with nonfiction to give her readers portraits of thirteen unusual animals. She begins with the babirusa, a rather unfortunate looking pig-like animal that has two pairs of tusks. Babirusa’s love water, which is why the poem about this animal describes what it would be like to have a “babirusa in my bathtub.” In the nonfiction text that accompanies the poem we learn that babirusas are such good swimmers that they can swim from island to island in their Asian habitat.
   Later on in the book we meet the hagfish, a bizarre looking marine eel like creature that “ties herself into a bow / And squeezes clean from head to toe.” This rather novel way of cleaning itself is not the only strange thing the hagfish does. It also eats using a tongue that is covered with teeth, and it can produce enormous amounts of slime.
   Animal loving children are sure to enjoy this unique book with its poems, its sections of fact-filled text, and its illustrations. At the back of the book, the author provides her readers with additional information and activities that parents and teachers can use.

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