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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 60.
- Review Date: 2009-01-19
- Reviewer: Staff
The nation's first children's poet laureate fills a galaxy with weird, scary planets: his 19 poems describe places and creatures you wouldn't want to visit. On planet “Lonithor,” for example, “demon birds... eviscerate their prey./ And when they've disemboweled you,/ They'll pick apart your face”; on “Ogdofod” the monopods “will snare you in their nets,/ Then process you and package you/ To feed their hungry pets.” Pickering's (Skelly the Skeleton Girl) amusing illustrations suggest images for a Tim Burton movie. A tourist on “Drifig Prime” resembles a frozen Corpse Bride and someone who stumbles on Planet Grob looks a lot like Edward Scissorhands. Less broad in its appeal than most of Prelutsky's previous titles, this over-the-top intergalactic odyssey will mostly please kids capable of relishing horror and its send-ups (“You laugh till you wish / You'd expire of laughter, / And in that same second, / you mercifully do”). For added fun, about half of the planet names are anagrams; a key is listed at the end. Ages 8–up. (Mar.)
A turn for the verse
In 2006, Jack Prelutsky was named as our nation's first Children's Poet Laureate and the title is well deserved. He's written more than 40 books of kid-pleasing poetry, including The New Kid on the Block and My Dog May Be a Genius. His newest, The Swamps of Sleethe: Poems From Beyond the Solar System is a blast. Here, Prelutsky stands science fiction on its head with his richly worded verse. It's comical, of course, and you needn't look further than the poems' titles to see the wit. Take "The Savage Monarch of Zazorzz," for example, or "The Monopods of Ogdofod." Jimmy Pickering adds superb genre-bending illustrations to these fantastic cautionary tales that came from outer space.