The Blood-Hungry Spleen & Other Poems About Our Parts - Allan Wolf, illus. by Greg Clarke

>From top to bottom, outside in, this collection of poems about the human body is clever and delightful. Most of the poems are rhyming verse (some with stumbling meters) but there are a few that break out of the mold: "Thirteen Ways of Looking at Your Knees and Elbows" (which references Wallace Stevens' poem about a blackbird) and "Kidney Trouble," a poem for two voices. But all of them are fun to read, and (for the most part) scientifically accurate—Wolf even includes a section of notes in the back where he explains where he's taken liberties. And he doesn't shy away from any body parts, either: "Consider the Anus" ends the chapter on Eating, and "Boy Parts" and "Girl Parts" each get their own poem. The illustrations are equally charming; at first glance I thought the cover was by Lane Smith (a personal favorite), but closer examination shows Clarke to have his own style, whimsical and well-suited to the poems. It's fun! It's educational! Where else can you find poems for kids about cytoplasm and hormones and involuntary muscles?

Fed to jonathan's brain | April 28, 2004