Selected & Illustrated by Joohee Yoon
Enchanted Lion Books 4/07/2015
48 pages Ages 4—8
“Poetry and children belong together, and for a long time, the music and playfulness of verse wove itself through children’s days and lives. Beastly Verse aims to help return the wonder of poetry to children’s lives through sixteen exquisitely illustrated poems, four of which have the surprise and pleasure of being foldouts. Consisting of playful as well as powerfully memorable poems, Beastly Verse transports the reader into a richly worded world of tigers, hummingbirds, owls, elephants, pelicans, yaks, snails, and even telephones! A playful romp through verse, rhyme, and gorgeous images, this book carries children into the poetic realm in a way that is not only fun and inviting, but inspiring as well!” [publisher]
Beastly Verse is a collection of kid-friendly poetry compiled by illustrator Joohee Yoon. Inspired by these sixteen poems—beginning with Lewis Carroll’s “The Crocodile” and finishing with “Dream Song” by Walter de la Mare—Yoon imaged the art for each poem. Using a combination of sketches and computer techniques, Yoon printed Beastly Verse with a three Pantone color pallet (magenta, yellow, and cyan). This process produced brightly colored spreads with antique, yet artistic, and somewhat abstract expressions. I like the look.
The Crocodile by Lewis Carroll
How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!
How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in,
With gently smiling jaws!
Yoon gave kids surprises on every page. The eel, usually rather electrifying, finds its place on a plate, in a diner. Are you ready to eat?
A gentle hummingbird flutters on a spread among what looks like one-cell creatures. D. H. Lawrence images the hummingbird flying around long before other creatures in his poem, “Humming-Bird.”
Before anything had a soul,
While life was a heave of Matter, half inanimate,
This little bit chipped off in brilliance
And went whizzing through the slow, vast, succulent stems.
Flip over the right page of this three-page spread for D. H. Lawrence’s imagined world. Here the sweet little hummingbird becomes humongous. Its dangerous rows of teeth and crazy tongue now fill its beak. Open wide, the hummingbird targets a dinosaur dinner as other dinosaurs look up at the strange creature.
Kids of all ages can easily turn the reinforced, slightly thicker pages without too much fear of tearing the page. Yoon surprises the reader with four three-page spreads. The middle spread (a 3-page spread), serves to unite the illustrations. A young girl shows an adult her image of a buffalo—the same as Yoon’s buffalo on the previous spread. I think young children will respond to these child-like illustrations.
Beastly Verse introduces kids to many poets from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Parents wanting to share poetry from a previous era would do well to read Beastly Verse to their child. Each kid-friendly poem will jump-start a child’ imagination, especially if asked to draw the animal as described in the poem. Teachers should be able to find various creative activities for Beastly Verse. For a Poetry Month selection much different than most, with amazing, kid-friendly art and poems, Beastly Verse is a great choice.
BEASTLY VERSE. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Joohee Yoon. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Enchanted Lion Books, Brooklyn, NY.
Find Beastly Verse on Goodreads HERE.
BEASTLY VERSE. Illustrations © 2015 by Joohee Yoon. Used by permission of Enchanted Lion Books.
Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: Beastly Verse by Joohee Yoon, and received from Enchanted Lion Books, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”