This collection of epitaphs mourns animals from the chicken who doesn't quite make it across the road to the cow who has been "cream-ated." Lewis and Yolen fill their poems with word play, rhymes and visual puns. It certainly isn't for everyone - but I'm certain there's a group of kids who will love it. Here are some fun examples:
Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs
illustrated by Jeffrey Stewart TimminsCharlesbridge, 2012ages 8 - 12
Good-bye to a Rowdy RoosterToo cocky by far,he head-butted a car.Hen's Last CluckThe end of her daywas in fowl play.
Jeffrey Stewart Timmins' illustrations add to the dark humor, with visual puns, a smoky pallet and plenty of blood and guts. My students loved seeing how animals from these early poems show up as ghosts or apparitions in later pictures.
I laughed and snorted my way though this. The macabre humor will be just perfect for some, but it will definitely turn others off. Third grade boys loved it. My 13 year old daughter thought I was nuts. But then, that's nothing new.
But best of all, I like the way these poems make students stop and think. For kids who like this sort of dark humor, they'll come back to this collection again and again, dipping in and enjoying a bit more each time. This isn't a collection that you'll read in one sitting from cover to cover, but it's perfect for sampling its wicked humor and choosing your favorite poem.
The review copy came from our school library collection. All images shared above are copyright ©2012 by Jeffrey Stewart Timmins, shared with permission from the publisher. The poems are copyright ©2012 by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.
Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books