Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Stardines Swim High Across the Sky

Stardines Swim High Across The Sky
                        and other poems
by Jack Prelutsky
illustrated by Carin Berger

Mr.Prelutsky is an inspiration. By writing about anything and everything under the sun that will appeal to a broad set of young audience, no doubt he has single-handedly managed to kindle the inner poet in many kids, thereby making poetry fun and accessible.

And, through Pizza, Pigs & Pancakes book, he generously shares many tools and techniques to demystify poetry-writing.

Thanks to Dr.Seuss, Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, Kenn Nesbitt et al, kids today can develop a genuine fondness for poetry - and not necessarily the esoteric, evocative ones that are traditionally exalted, but the engaging, playful ones that straddle the lines of the absurd and the profound.

The latest book to turn into an obsession in our house, based on repeat reads, is Stardines.

Associating intangible traits with well-known animals, Jack Prelutsky has presented a clever set of  16 poems that not only entertain but also challenge the young minds to think beyond the conventional.

Stardines, as can be guessed, are stars that swim about high in the sky like a school of sardines.

My favorites were: Plandas - Pandas that plan and plan but never get anything done; Braindeer - Reindeer with such amazing brain that can solve all the mysteries of the universe but can't communicate it to us as they cannot speak or write; The Gloose - Goose that's adhesive and has a tough time getting anywhere; and Bardvarks - Aardvarks that fancy themselves as poets but are so awful at it and we can't make them stop.

The 8 year olds favorites in this collection happen to be: Bluffaloes, Jollyfish and Magpipes.

What I admire deeply about these poems is the uncompromising use of language - no dilution, no patronizing, just unadulterated joy. And, no gimmicks, no odd menagerie of amalgamated mutants, but an inventive marriage of everyday animals with incongruous peculiarities.

BLUFFALOES are bulky beasts,
Preposterously large.
Their demeanor is imposing,
They appear to be in charge.

Despite their size and attitude,
They're neither fierce nor tough,
And BLUFFALOES just run away
If you should call their bluff.

Of course, the book would be incomplete without the brilliant illustrations by Carin Berger. Each 2-page spread is" a carefully constructed diorama with cut paper and other found objects", plus tags and labels and pins and things that have the quaint vintage charm. That just barely scratches the surface. How does an artist match the skilled wordplay in such a work? Magpipes are amazingly rendered and so are the Braindeer. How about Bluffalo? How can the abstract 'bluff' be presented alongside the majestic 'buffalo'? Ms.Berger has done it!

Browse Inside at HarperCollins

[image source: HarperCollins]


Arundhati said...

Oooh! Sounds beautiful

carinberger said...

thank you so much for your review of stardines! love your blog! carin

Prad said...

Sounds delightful!

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