Animal Poems of the Iguaz/Animalario del Iguaz

Francisco X. Alarcon, Author, Maya Christina Gonzalez, Illustrator , illus. by Maya Christina Gonzalez. Children's Book Press $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-89239-225-4

Two West Coast Chicano artists (From the Bellybutton of the Moon and Other Summer Poems ) celebrate Iguazú Falls, the immense rain forest waterfalls that lie between Argentina and Brazil. “These waterfalls/ are the big blue/ and green laughter/ of Mother Earth/ cascading down/ in loud peals,” declares Alarcón; Gonzalez assembles big, cheerful blocks of tropical color, invoking the falls with Matisse-like fronds of white and light blue. Short poems, often just 10 or 20 words long, adopt the voices of the animals that fill the rain forest around the falls: “From our perch/ we ants can spot/ many people... holding digital cameras/ taking lots of photos... ignoring the great/ and tiny wonders/ all around them.” Alarcón writes with a kind of bubbly reverence, avoiding the sententiousness that characterizes much save–the–rain forest literature. Each of the 26 poems appears in both English and Spanish, with many explanatory footnotes; together with the dense illustrations, the effect of the pages duplicates that of the rain forest, jam-packed with things to look at. Ages 6–up. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/23/2008
Release date: 07/01/2008
Genre: Children's
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