Orangutanka: A Story in Poems

Margarita Engle, illus. by Renée Kurilla. Holt, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9839-6
Engle makes expressive use of the five-line tanka poetry form to study a family of orangutans living in a wildlife refuge. A sense of movement—sometimes dramatic, sometimes quiet—emanates from nearly every entry. Kurilla’s dynamic mixed-media images show an adult orangutan perched between branches (“papa/ is too massive/ for treetops—/ his great weight makes/ low branches waltz slowly”), while another spread follows another orangutan’s progress down to the jungle floor, where rangers have prepared a feast (“towering green trees/ shiver, sway, rattle, and shake/ when orangutans/ clamber toward colorful mounds/ of bananas and mangoes”). Information about orangutans and the threats they face closes out this warm, rewarding portrait of these intelligent apes. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Michelle Humphrey, Martha Kaplan Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/12/2015
Release date: 03/24/2015
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