Reviews for Beast Friends Forever! : Animal Lovers in Rhyme

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
Loosely tethered to the subject of animal love, the majority of these poems are just wacky, but some are also tender: Grizzly Rose is a terrible snorer, but to her "adoring fellow," the "snootful roaring / Of his lovely lady bear, / Reassure[s] him she's there." Forbes's meter often strikes out, but Searle's colored-in line drawings underscore the poems' lightheartedness.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 December #1
Forbes tenders a curiously wayward collection of animal love poetry. "For soon they'll grow up and want to go play / With game skunky guys for a sniff and a spray." Sure, if educated fleas do it, then skunks do it: They fall in love. But Cole Porter might have framed it differently, as it seems a little rich for 7-year-olds, the starting audience for which this book is disingenuously pegged in its marketing: 7 to 70. Elsewhere, readers will find "a pig whose name is Squig," a "camel named Kim" and a "doe gazelle named Mellow"—not to forget "[t]wo raccoons, Liz and Rick" (whose name suddenly turns to Dick in the last stanza), none of whom will tickle too many 60-year-olds. And for such a handsome production—the paper is lovely, and the reproductions of Searles' illustrations, with their wonderful spidery, anarchic linework and trails of color that leave afterimages, are terrific—it is jarring to find "unfatihfulness" and "morning dove" (though the last occurs in one of the better poems, about a sea gull leaving home—the beach—because he is tired of the soggy French fries). Of the 27 poems here, Forbes best hits his stride in the longer pieces, especially "Down at the Old Mill Inn," with its cast of unsavories kept in check by the headwaiter. Unfortunately, the extended poems are too few and far between, though Searles' artwork (he died in 2011) saves the book's bacon. (Poetry. 10-12) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 January #1

In this companion to Beastly Feasts! and Let's Have a Bite! Forbes composes odes to unlikely lovestruck animals. A seagull finds love inland ("Now they're raising a brood in the pines--/ Not one of Mother Nature's predictable designs:/ A seagull in the forest with a morning dove./ But it pays to take a chance on love"), while Monty "is a naughty python/ Who met his wife in a python pile-on." The loquacious verse sometimes falters ("The first time I met Lena/ She was an average girl hyena/ Who could laugh right on cue/ Because that's what hyenas do./ The Animal Clich League is pretty strict:/ Hyenas must laugh, so goes the edict"), but, by and large, the gently mischievous poems should please those who love wordplay, the animal kingdom, and improbable romances. All ages. (Jan.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 April

Gr 4-7--Children familiar with Beastly Feasts! (2007) and Let's Have a Bite! (2010, both Overlook Duckworth) will cheer for this third collaboration. Animal courtship is infused with quirky human characteristics and some sneaky social commentary. Readers meet Lancelot the Ocelot, doing time for "his romance turned to tragedy, ending in a crime." And Babette the Skunk, having studied with "Parisian perfumers," has fashioned a new scent, "packaged in black and called 'In-d-scent,'/It's sure to enflame any white-striped gent." Twenty-seven poems, some of them several stanzas in length, make up the collection with characters such as a pig named Squig, a valiant meerkat, and a Blue-footed Booby who has "dyed his feet red to be groovy/And at night plays blues on his toobie." Searle's pen-and-ink drawings embellish the tales of love, and pastel touches reinforce the tone of the poems. The verses and illustrations are on opposing pages with white space that makes their appearance seamless. A small creature follows the action from page to page, and there are 17 punch-out stickers on the endpapers. These poems include a rich vocabulary of words such as "besotted," "beau," and "reminisce." They will be fun to read aloud, multiple times.--Teresa Pfeifer, The Springfield Renaissance School, Springfield, MA

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