Review: Stardines by Jack Prelutsky


Stardines: Swim High across the Sky and Other Poems by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Carin Berger

This poetry book takes the wit of Prelutsky and combines it with equally amazing illustrations.  Prelutsky tells of unusual creatures in his poems here.  He writes of creatures who are a mix of animal and inanimate objects.  For example, there are the Slobsters who are very messy lobsters who love being crude and dirty.  There are Plandas who are pandas that sit around and make elaborate plans but never do anything.  Tattlesnakes are snakes who are nosy and always tattling on others.  This menagerie of incredible creatures will be enjoyed by children who love puns and humor.

Prelutsky excels at creating poetry that both of interest to children but will also make them stretch their vocabulary a bit.  He throws in words like “slovenly,” “pretension” and even “lachrymose.”  Thanks to his rhythm and rhymes, these words slide by almost effortlessly and usually the definition can be figured out in the context.  He also has woven puns and humor into all of the poems, nicely creating creatures that speak more to the human condition than to the animal. 

It is Berger’s art that really makes this book an incredible read.  Thanks to her dioramas that show the creatures in collages and boxes, the book is a true exploration of the intriguing.  She has deftly incorporated pins and labels that make the illustrations look like lab specimens, but without hampering all of the action in the images by pinning down the animals themselves. 

Thrilling illustrations and superb children’s poetry create a poetry book that is wild, funny and a delight to read.  Appropriate for ages 7-10.

Reviewed from copy received from Greenwillow Books.