Barry Louis Polisar
Illustrations by David Clark
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Rainbow Morning Music, 2013, 978-0-938663-53-9
Watching, photographing, and learning about animals is something many people enjoy doing. Men, women, and children watch nature shows, visit zoos, go on safaris and find other opportunities to see animals in their natural environment. There are many people who are particularly taken with animals who live in oceans, seas, and lakes, and they put on masks, carry tanks of oxygen on their backs, and put up with freezing cold water so that they can see fish, whales, and other animals going about their business.
For those of us who are not really interested in getting wet to see aquatic animals, there are movies and television shows to watch, and books to read. Some books have made up stories about underwater explorations, while others are nonfiction. Then there are authors who choose to describe animals who live in water using poetry.
In this book Barry Louis Polisar’s clever poems are paired with often amusing illustrations to give readers a little trip underwater. We meet the oddly named sweetlips fish, and find out that horseshoe crabs come on land to mate. Unfortunately, many of them “get stranded” when the tide goes out because they are “followed nature’s calling.”
Some of the animals we meet on the pages are creatures we would rather avoid in the real world. These include the jellyfish, “a nettlesome bunch of bad luck,” and crocodiles and alligators. Others, such as seahorses and barnacles are harmless, and if we were to encounter then we could watch them without fear.
The last poem wraps up this collection perfectly. In it the author celebrates all the creatures that live in water ending with the words “Praise all that swims and floats.”
Well-crafted poems and wonderful artwork make this book a must for anyone who likes poetry or who has a fondness for seas, oceans, lakes, and rivers.