Beastly Banquet: Tasty Treats for Animal Appetites

Peggy Munsterberg, Author, Tracy Gallup, Illustrator, Tracy Gallup, Photographer Dial Books $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-1481-6
Both playful and informative, the 20 rhymes in this collection vividly detail the eating habits of animals-including the human kind. Full of apt similes if occasionally dampened by ragged meters, debut author Munsterberg's poems feature a spider who ""starts to munch/ On legs and crispy wings for lunch,"" or goldfish who eat ""food that's soaking, soppy wet,/ floating down, drifting by/ Like snowflakes falling from the sky."" Rather than underscoring the factual information included in each poem, first-time illustrator Gallup creates fantastic figures in quasi-surreal settings. A spotted frog said to be ""fond/ Of a fat young fly"" is shown waiting patiently, sitting on a dining room chair atop a lily pad raft; on another page, at a restaurant table, an elegantly dressed, wrinkled elephant balances his china cup and saucer on the end of his trunk. The mood can be funny, as in the painting of a Jazz Age cockroach couple approaching a half-eaten cookie on a windowsill, yet faintly quaint, as with the view of a beribboned porcelain doll staring out from the garbage dump or with insects and grubs shown wearing pink dresses and shiny shoes. The combination of descriptive, straightforward poems with the otherworldly artwork results in an interesting, slightly eccentric book. Ages 5-up. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-0-8037-1482-3
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