cover image Stardines Swim High Across the Sky and Other Poems

Stardines Swim High Across the Sky and Other Poems

Jack Prelutsky, illus. by Carin Berger. Greenwillow, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-201464-1

In a similar vein to his Scranimals (2002), Prelutsky presents hybrid creatures with attributes produced by altering or adding a single letter in their names: “The gloose may be the weirdest bird/ That ever took to wing./ It has an odd propensity/ To stick to anything.” A sobcat “spends its time crying/ Continuously,” while “Jollyfish are radiant/ Ebullient blobs of mirth.” Prelutsky’s fake-pompous verse is as clever as ever, and Berger’s artwork is its visual equivalent. She creates spectacular three-dimensional papercraft boxes and collages in the manner of Joseph Cornell, labeling the wooden frames with old-fashioned, typewritten stickers. The glooses’ tiny feathers are cut carefully from paper, while magpipes are assembled from engraved images of plucked poultry and brass piping; streamers of paper emblazoned with musical notes curl from the pipes—a witty representation of sound. The poems are typewritten on scraps of paper and mounted with butterfly pins. The whole has the feel of a vintage science project by the weirdest (and most imaginative) kid in class. The zoology may be suspect, but the laughs are guaranteed. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Mar.)