A Strange Place to Call Home: The World’s Most Dangerous Habitats and the Animals That Call Them Home

Marilyn Singer, illus. by Ed Young. Chronicle, $16.99 (44p) ISBN 978-1-4521-0120-0
Singer (A Stick Is an Excellent Thing) approaches zoology from a literary standpoint in 14 idiosyncratic poems, with cut-and-torn-paper imagery by Young (The House Baba Built). Each spread features one species and the bizarre conditions in which it thrives. Ice worms squirm “beneath the glacial ice/ helped by their own antifreeze.” Flamingos feature in a villanelle set in the salt flats they occupy: “This harsh and salty land—/ Flamingos find it grand.” Torn, fibrous brown papers, representing a sandstorm, dwarf a nearly hidden camel; crumpled iridescent paper suggests the shimmery wings of petroleum flies: “Thousands/ of them are born/ in carrion, water,/ or soil. But not this crew. They hatch/ in oil.” Endnotes provide paragraph-length descriptions of each creature, yet the experimental verse and minimalist collage can keep the remarkable animals abstract and distant (“[A] limpet is resourceful/ Its fine construction/ employs suction./ In other words, its thing/ is mightily to cling”). Better shared than read solo, Singer’s poems marvel at unlikely existences. Ages 6–9. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Illustrator’s agent: Edward Necarsulmer IV, McIntosh & Otis. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/13/2012
Release date: 08/01/2012
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Paperback - 44 pages - 978-1-4521-4125-1
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