Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary, Intermediate
Author: Jack Prelutsky
Illustrator: Carin Berger
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Stardines Swim High Across the Sky is a charming anthology of short poems describing various imaginary creatures that are punny combinations of real animals with inanimate objects and quirky personality traits. Presented as discoveries from the author’s travels into “far-flung places,” this book introduces us to such delights as the jollyfish, “radiant, ebullient blobs of mirth,” the fountain lion, “the only lions no one dreads,” and the titular stardines, that “illuminate the darkest nights,” along with thirteen other creatures in short verse form.
The anthology as a whole is quirky and fun, with Carin Berger's art perfectly accompanying each of Prelutsky’s short verses. Each photographed, mixed-media illustration of the creature in question, along with the old typeface, gives the book an engaging, scrapbooky feel. The poems are full of descriptive and interesting wordplay sure to amuse older children and expand younger children’s vocabulary with words like “lachrymose” and “effervescence,” and the creatures themselves are delightful. All in all, a very worthwhile read from the first Children’s Poet Laureate.