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Posts Tagged ‘animals’

If you’re feeling a little thirsty, you’ve come to the right place.

Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole (Millbrook Press, 2014)Irene Latham’s first poetry collection for children– is officially hitting shelves on Monday, September 1!

With fifteen beautifully crafted poems, Irene invites us to meet a fascinating variety of animals who frequent a water hole on the African grasslands.

Whether it’s those charming little meerkats standing guard in a nearby burrow, a tentative giraffe acrobatically positioning itself at water’s edge, a herd of playful zebras cavorting in a metaphorical “rugby tangle,” or a solitary rhino venturing out for his moonlight drink, we can easily see what a busy, life-sustaining place this is from dawn to dusk.

Written in free verse and rhyme, Irene’s spare, evocative poems are by turns lyrical, whimsical, informative, amusing, enlightening, reflective and reverent. She did a brilliant job of zeroing in on precisely those aspects of animal personality and behavior that best lend themselves to poetic interpretation. Each verse is paired with a nonfiction note offering further details about how the animals thrive and function in the ecosystem, illuminating interdependence, survival and diversity.

Anna Wadham’s gorgeous illustrations convey the many moods of the savanna, sometimes rust orange and warm, sometimes jade green and refreshing, other times dreamy cerulean and soothing. Her emotive renderings nicely complement the verses, indeed welcoming the reader to “this vital place/where earth and sky convene,” inspiring us to wander, meander, and freely appreciate this unique poetic celebration of wildlife and habitat.

I especially enjoyed hearing from the new-to-me oxpeckers, whose comical poem I’m sharing today, along with the ethereal “Impala Explosion,” a stunning example of how terse rhythm and neat rhyme can perfectly capture the animals’ spirit and movement.

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Ever have this thing where you don’t know what you’re looking for, but you absolutely know it when you see it?

That’s exactly what happened when I spotted Deidre Wicks’s charming animal paintings on Pinterest recently.

Cerebral dogs and cats wearing glasses! Birdies balancing on the edges of pretty china teacups! Other animals decked out in derby hats, bowties, berets, and tutus, some blowing bubbles, others stealing cupcakes! And a good number of them with mustaches :).

Since Deidre’s watercolors got me right where I live, I had to find out more about her work. A fashion design major from Toronto, Canada, Deidre was unhappily working as a pattern drafter when she decided to follow her passion for illustration.

She’s an ardent animal lover living with two dogs and two cats who happily keep her company and provide endless inspiration for her drawings. I love the blend of realistic animals + whimsy + humor. Each of her paintings tells a story and you just can’t help but smile when you see them.

Deidre sells originals, archival prints, t-shirts and other goodies at her Etsy Shop — and yes, she takes custom orders. I thank her for visiting Alphabet Soup today along with Schaffer, Bronie, Orange Peel and Tina.

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Confession: I am obsessed with have a penchant for dishes.

Oh, you noticed?  :D

I especially love novelty china and porcelain with drawings and words on them. Food simply tastes better on cool plates, in cheeky bowls, and sipped from nifty cups. Beautiful handcut crystal usually leaves me cold. But give me a fetching illustrated ceramic plate and I’m all yours. Yes to color, pattern, detail, and personality!

Several months ago, I was delighted to discover JimboBart, featuring the work of London-based artist/designer James Ward. I saw his “Eats Cake and Leaves” side plate on Liberty of London’s Pinterest board and was immediately hooked.

He mostly likes to draw cheeky animals paired with clever sayings. While Cornelius and I are crazy enamoured with his BEARS, we also covet his badgers, mice, foxes, penguins, and owls.

Seriously, how could you not love an artist who draws a big bear in a bathtub?

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rat day cover (2)450

Usually I don’t like to say this in polite company, but ahem . . .  I smell a rat!

Actually four rats, nattily sporting bowtie, necktie, fedora, and boater, casually working the stripes, football jerseys, overalls, scuba gear and yes, bunny ears, as they boogie, strut, scamper and cavort through the pages of this brand new poetry collection by our studly but relentlessly mischievous Children’s Poet Laureate, J. Patrick Lewis.

Due props to him and award-winning illustrator Anna Raff for creating this zany celebration of 22 “Real Holidays You’ve Never Heard Of ” in World Rat Day (Candlewick, 2013), destined to be an instant favorite among munchkins and short grown-ups who enjoy quirky-fun animal poems, what poet Bobbi Katz calls “ear food for elementary school kids.”

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Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.

Well, not only do we feel like a nut, we ARE nuts about OH, NUTS! (Bloomsbury, 2012), a brand new picture book by Tammi Sauer and Dan Krall, which officially drops today!

C-C-R-R-R-A-C-K!

Oops.

You know the old saying, “It takes one to know one”? Ahem, Tammi Sauer, Dan Krall. Need I say more? Totally qualified in the nuts department. But somebody should get on their shells about slacking off. Tammi = 5 books out this year. Dan = 2 books out this year. If they’d only stop polishing their pecans, attacking acorns and waltzing with walnuts, they’d have time to make more books! Yeah!

*crowd grows restless* “Par-tay! Par-tay!”

So, are you ready to channel your inner chipmunk? I hope Tammi and Dan have time to drop by today’s celebration. They were last seen at the City Zoo, “meeting their public.” Throngs of peanut nibblers want their copies signed.

Tammi and Dan Chipmunk are the biggest attraction at the zoo today: DO NOT FEED. (This illo fashioned by Dan just for Alphabet Soup)!

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