Synopses & Reviews
Under the desert's cracked and barren skin, spadefoot toads are waiting for rain. In the endless black of the deepest caves, blind fish find their way. Even in the frozen hearts of glaciers, ice worms by the billion flourish. In this fascinating look at fourteen animals who defy the odds by thriving in Earth's most dangerous places, renowned poet Marilyn Singer and celebrated artist Ed Young show that of all the miracles of life, it is life's persistence that astounds the most.
"Singer (A Stick Is an Excellent Thing) approaches zoology from a literary standpoint in 14 idiosyncratic poems, with cut-and-torn-paper imagery by Young (The House Baba Built). Each spread features one species and the bizarre conditions in which it thrives. Ice worms squirm 'beneath the glacial ice/ helped by their own antifreeze.' Flamingos feature in a villanelle set in the salt flats they occupy: 'This harsh and salty land / Flamingos find it grand.' Torn, fibrous brown papers, representing a sandstorm, dwarf a nearly hidden camel; crumpled iridescent paper suggests the shimmery wings of petroleum flies: 'Thousands/ of them are born/ in carrion, water,/ or soil. But not this crew. They hatch/ in oil.' Endnotes provide paragraph-length descriptions of each creature, yet the experimental verse and minimalist collage can keep the remarkable animals abstract and distant (' limpet is resourceful/ Its fine construction/ employs suction./ In other words, its thing/ is mightily to cling'). Better shared than read solo, Singer's poems marvel at unlikely existences. Ages 6 9. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Illustrator's agent: Edward Necarsulmer IV, McIntosh & Otis. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Fascinating, enlightening, and strikingly illustrated." - School Library Journal
"This enlightening collection brings beauty and respect to strangeness." - Booklist
"Singer's poems marvel at unlikely existences." - Publishers Weekly
Of all the miracles of life, it is life's persistence that astounds the most. In the endless black of the deepest caves, blind fish find their way. In a frozen forest, snow monkeys find a cozy hot spring to keep warm. Even in the salt desert's barren cold, flamingoes bloom like vivid flowers. The 14 animals in this book defy the odds and make their homes in the unlikeliest of places—under the weight of seas, in the belly of tar pits, in the sandstorm's mouth.
About the Author
Marilyn Singer is the author of more than 90 books for children and young adults, but she especially loves to write poetry. She lives with her husband and several pets in Brooklyn, New York, which is sometimes a strange place to call home, and in Washington, Connecticut.
Ed Young has illustrated more than 80 books for children He is the winner of the Caldecott Medal, in addition to many other awards. He lives with his family in New York.