imagesReviewed by Poppy Johnson

National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry is a hardbound coffee-table worthy book; it’s a veritable anthology of animal poems form well-known authors from around the world. The poems are from authors hailing from this contemporary time and from times past with Robert Frost, D.H. Lawrence and Rudyard Kipling featured along with Adelaide Crapsey, Janet S. Wong and X.J. Kennedy (for more information on the authors, the reader can check out the extensive appendix in the back of the book for details on the text and photo credits).

The photos in the book are NatGeo amazing, with full page (and sometimes double page) bright action photos of animals with the animal themed poetry printed in white on top of the photo. In the book, there are fish with gnashing barred teeth that jump out from the page (such as the Piranha that is ready to eat the reader on sight). The readers will get a front row seat view of animals on the go in the wild, with poem after poem set to describe the best features of known and unknown animals as featured between the pages.

Each animal is photographed within two inches of its face (which is up close and personal for sure), in its natural habitat, with vivid clarity and color, and is paired with an appropriate poem or Haiku to offer an exciting experience for the reader. The animals are all put into relevant chapter sections, such as “the winged ones,” or “the water ones,” and the upper right hand corner of each page shows a symbol to tell the reader what section the animal poem is located in. This is handy if reading to little ones who prefer a certain type of animal and are looking for one variety of animal poems at a time.

I would recommend this glossy captivating book for children of all ages, but will offer a word of advice to parents of extremely young children. The photos are all of real animals and do not hold back on viciousness. Some children may become afraid of photos, such as a shark photo that seems to be swimming right off the page with open jaws ready to eat the next victim. For older children, it will hit the mark with the realism, as it will be no different than the action movies they watch on DVD or television, but parents of toddlers may want to use some caution when sharing it with their children.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by National Geographic Children’s Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.