10 Songs of the Earth as the Animals See It
by Sarah Weeks
illustrated by Lois Ehlert
Lois Ehlert's creations have resonated with us time and again. Leaf Man, Snowballs, Color Zoo, Color Farm, Red Leaf Yellow Leaf, Lots of Spots, Top Cat, Feathers for Lunch are some of our favorites.
So when I came across this book in the library, the illustrations caught my attention and when I saw that it was by Lois Ehlert, I immediately brought it home. The gorgeous, bright double-page collages are a treat to behold.
There are 10 poems by Sarah Weeks, some from the point of view of a particular animal like Panda,Tiger, Komodo Dragon, Great Egret, Galapagos Tortoise, Crocodile; while a few others are about a habitat like the jungle where the animals share the dwelling, and our Earth where we all co-exist.
Some of the poems are quite catchy, a couple have verses that seemed a bit bizarre, especially for the kids, but all in all a beautiful reading experience.
For example, Pretty Tree is a very cute poem as told by a Panda, about how their habitat is being chopped down; but ends with the Panda sweetly inviting the reader to join him up on the pretty tree to enjoy a bite of bamboo.
Allow me to introduce myself
You probably don't know me
See, I don't get out that much
I just sit in my pretty tree
Eating the tasty bamboo...
...Climb up and sit with me
Here in my pretty tree
There's room for us both you'll see
Here in my pretty tree.
However, the title poem Crocodile Smile was about the crocodile's sweetheart leaving her and how she is blue and yet she seems to smile as she cannot help it; it was rather awkward to read it to kids, but that's just me.
Don't be fooled by that crocodile smile.
What have I got to be happy about?
My sweetheart disappeared
And now I'm down and out
He left me high and dry in this swampy place
With nothing but the smile on my face.
The CD that comes with it has the poems set to music. While the tunes were not quite catchy and the lyrics were rather slurred, it did have a certain appeal that garnered repeat listens. After several reads of the book first, knowing what to expect, listening to the CD at bedtime was much more enjoyable.
My favorite poem in this collection is Take It Slow (Galapagos Tortoise), and the 4 yo's seems to be I'm Not A Hat (Great Egret) with Pretty Tree (Panda) and Pad,Pad,Pad (Tiger) a close second.
But for the few verses in the Crocodile Smile poem, the book is quite a treat to read aloud with repetitive lines and sing-song verses all about animals, by the animals.
[excerpt at books.google.com]
[cover image source: amazon.com]