cover image Man Gave Names to All the Animals

Man Gave Names to All the Animals

Bob Dylan, illus. by Jim Arnosky, Sterling, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4027-6858-3

Arnosky offers a Peaceable Kingdom approach—minus humans—to the song from Dylan’s 1979 album Slow Train Running. The self-consciously majestic acrylic and pencil tableaus feature “different animals and plants from around the world on each and every page” (according to the introduction). While Dylan references only six animals in his song, Arnosky notes on the penultimate page that the book includes more than 170 creatures (readers are invited to identify them all, or check out the illustrator’s Web site for clues). However, the spreads and portraits feel detached from the gently funky mood of Dylan’s performance on the accompanying CD, as well as the laidback, down-home humor of the lyrics: “He saw an animal up on a hill/ Chewing up so much grass until she was filled./ He saw milk comin’ out but he didn’t know how/ Ah, think I’ll call it a COW.” Arnosky deserves props for not reaching for the most common examples of the animals from the song’s verse (using a bristly wild pig and mountain sheep), but even animal fanatics may find these compositions overwhelming. Ages 3–up. (Sept.)