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Archive for January 15th, 2014

by Sam Juliano

Inventive word play and poetry with an edge are gloriously on display in one of the past year’s most ravishing and imaginative picture books, Stardines Swim Across the Sky and other poems.  With an irresistible title like that, and with wit and humor to spare, it’s no wonder that the perpetrator of this sixteen subject celebration of rhymed irreverence is the work of the nation’s first children’s poet laureate, Jack Prelutsky.  The illustrator of this wholly original collection is the award-winning designer Carin Berger, who previously collaborated with Prelutsky on the poetry volume Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant.  The press information on Stardines reveals that the illustrator assembled the dioramas, shadow boxes and cut paper collages in the book from ephemera – catalogs, old books, receipts, letter and ticket stubs –  as well as cigar boxes.  In any event the employment of mixed media could not have been more appealingly applied nor more notable for its diversity.

The exotic and whimsical temperament of the book, which on one hand hearkens back to Lewis Carroll’s famed nonsense verse “Jabberwocky” also translates as a kind of a subversive version of Arnold Lobel’s beloved Caldecott Medal winning Fables.  The focus are the subjects that title and define each verse – hybrids that are part real animal and part inanimate objects are zany, utterly delightful and creative figments of the imagination, such as tattlesnakes, fountain lions, bluffaloes and slobsters among others that examined with a decidedly satiric eye.  As Prelutsky asserts about “Plandas”: (more…)

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