Reviews for Pug and Other Animal Poems

Booklist Reviews 2013 February #2
As with the highly regarded Animal Poems (2007), Jenkins' meticulous cut-paper collage images successfully catch the essence of Worth's concise, vivid poems about a startling variety of creatures. The 18 featured animals, each radiant upon a separate double-page spread against boldly colored backgrounds, run the gamut from large (bull) to small (fly), from beautiful (Bengal tiger) to "ugly" (pug), from lively (fox) to dead (mouse), and from unusual (wood thrush) to more common ("My Cat"). Rendered in action close-ups, each should be recognizable to children. Worth's free-verse poems are chock-full of delicious metaphor ("The Bengal tiger / Batters his cage; / His rage is thunder, / Sharp stripes flash"), providing a precise mental image. While some concepts may be a tad sophisticated for the youngest, the language and images should inspire appreciation in audiences of all ages. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Like Jenkins's first collection of Worth's poems, Animal Poems, bold collages of precisely observed creatures dramatize eighteen welcome additions to Worth's oeuvre. The soulful "Pug" is a worried charmer ("Perhaps because, for / Dogs, they look / A lot like people"); a primeval black bull is "Rough-hewn, / From the planet's / Hard side, / From the cold / Black rock / That abides."

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #2
Valerie Worth is fondly remembered for her small books of "small poems" -- delicate epiphanies springing from thoughts on such ordinary things as a book, a fence, an acorn, rags -- all exquisitely illustrated with Natalie Babbitt's small, delicate line drawings (gathered in All the Small Poems and Fourteen More, rev. 3/95). Like Jenkins's first collection of Worth's poems, Animal Poems (rev. 5/07), Pug features a radically different design from that of those quiet earlier books, so in tune with Worth's elegantly simple verse. Still, times change, and Jenkins's bold collages of precisely observed creatures effectively dramatize these eighteen welcome additions to Worth's oeuvre. The soulful, lifesize "Pug" face on the jacket is a worried charmer ("Perhaps because, for / Dogs, they look / A lot like people"); a primeval black bull personifies his kind ("Rough-hewn, / From the planet's / Hard side, / From the cold / Black rock / That abides"). A few illustrations seem out of scale with their subjects and with the lovely verse: Jenkins's thrush is outsize and raucous, an unlikely source for one of nature's sweetest songs. Worth's poems remain a marvel and a joy: each offers, like the firefly here, its "Gold-green / Revelation, before / Slipping out / Between crossed / Thumbs, and slyly / Winking away." joanna rudge long

Kirkus Reviews 2013 February #1
Jenkins again provides stunning collage illustrations for a posthumous collection of poems by esteemed poet Worth, following Animal Poems (2007). This collection features 18 free-verse poems about the animal kingdom, including insects, fish, birds, wild animals and three pets: a dachshund, a prowling cat and the titular pug, shown in an appealing head-on view on the cover. Some of the animal subjects are less than engaging (a dead mouse left on the doorstep, a rat surrounded by garbage), but Worth finds tiny details and meaningful observations in each animal she examines, asking readers to accept any animal as a worthy subject for poetic examination. A few of the poems will be accessible to younger children, but most are more appropriate for children in upper-elementary grades or middle school; some will demand an adult's help in interpretation. Jenkins provides illustrations in his dazzling paper-collage format with impressive results, from a luminous firefly to a snarling tiger. There is no thematic flow or organization of the poems, so readers hop about the animal world in a slightly jarring manner, though the illustrations are captivating whatever the subject. Another welcome collection. (Picture book/poetry. 6-13) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 January #1

In the late Worth's follow-up to Animal Poems (2007), sharply observant and powerfully descriptive verses portray fauna in both wild and domesticated environments. Of a captive Bengal tiger, Worth writes, "Is it too wicked/ To wish/ He would break out,/ Fill the zoo/ With storms,/ Run his lightning/ Into the world?" Jenkins casts his typically precise and expressive cut-paper compositions against bright, spare backgrounds. With each poem, Worth expresses fascination and astonishment at each animals' singular, sometimes alien existence. Toads are "Leathery/ Lumps of/ Earth with/ Gilded eyes," while a cicada is "A fairy/ Tale come/ True: the/ Humped brown/ Gnome split/ Up the back,/ The silver-/ Caped prince/ Set free." A resonant and soulful compilation. Ages 4-up. (Mar.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 March

Gr 3-5--A vividly crafted collection of 18 animal poems with subjects ranging from pugs to geese to fireflies. As in Animal Poems (Farrar, 2007), the poet's undeniable expertise is elegantly expressed in Jenkins's collage art. Each entry is featured on a spread with a paper collage depiction of the animal that complements the singular focus and brevity of the free-verse selection. Each poem captures a brief moment or an unusual perspective: from the mysterious nature of the fox, to the quiet stillness of a dead mouse left on the doorstep, to the power and raw ferocity of the tiger. The art reflects the shifting moods of the work deftly, allowing both to compel readers. Whether read aloud or scanned silently, this lovely book shines with the same qualities as the previous collection. Poetry readers who are hungry for more might want to peruse The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry, edited by J. Patrick Lewis (National Geographic, 2012), to continue the exploration of the creature kingdom.--Stephanie Whelan, New York Public Library

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