In the Wild, by David Elliott and Holly Meade

The illustration in this book is definitely worth 5 stars—it is absolutely gorgeous! My niece picked it up at the library and was ready to put it down again, but I made her check it out after glimpsing the pages. Then she went home, and I kept it to read for myself.

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The poems I would give 3 stars or maybe even 2, so I’m compromising with the overall review. Some of it I liked; most of it was only okay, and some of it bothered me—like how the poor rhinoceros gets the only negative poem in the book. What’s that about?

A horn stuck on a boot-like face,
So wrong, so clearly out of place.
A frightful sight, preposterous—
it must be a Rhinoceros!

I was also bugged by inconsistencies: the meter sometimes changes mid-poem, so they don’t have a good rhythm; some are titled, like “The Panda,” “The Wolf,” and “The Giraffe,” but in some the animal’s name is just incorporated into the text, like with the rhinoceros; some poems are written about the animals but some are written to them, and one is even written in the format of a letter complete with salutation and signature. Maybe that’s just a matter of my expectations, and not really a fault of the book, but I wasn’t a fan.

If I could get a hold of just Holly Meade’s pictures, I would absolutely frame them and put them in a kid’s bedroom. I adore this one, too, from another of their collaborations, In the Sea:

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The writing is just a little disappointing next to the brilliance of the illustrations—but then again, maybe it’s just me. I’m not a poetry person.

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