Book Review- Beast Feast by Douglas Florian
Florian, Douglas. 1994. Beast Feast. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace and Company. ISBN 0152951784
B. Plot Summary
Florian assembles 21 humorous poems about animals and insects in Beast Feast. The beasts range from an anteater to a walrus and everything in between. The poems may be short (“The pounding spatter/ Of salty sea/ Makes the walrus/ Walrusty.”) or longer in length like the couplet poem “The Chameleon.” Either way, Beast Feast is an enjoyable book for the eyes and ears.
C. Critical Analysis
Douglas Florian’s Beast Feast offers surprises for the reader in the form of language and pictures. His verses have language twists that are truly witty, “Just when you think you know the boa,/ There’s moa and moa and moa and moa.” And, each poem is accompanied by a full-page watercolor painting. The paintings offer further insight into the poem itself. For instance, in the poem “The Whale,” Florian says the whale is “big as a street.” In the picture, the whale is marked with the street names “1st Street, 2nd, and 3rd.”
The obvious emotion tied to this collection would be humor. Florian shares factual information about each beast with a light-hearted play on words. About the caterpillar, Florian writes “But for this creepy bug don’t cry, / It will soon be a butterfly.”
D. Review Excerpts
· 1995 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetery Award
· ALA Notable Children’s Book
· Starred review in School Library Journal, “Clearly a wonderful book.”
E. Connections and Classroom Activities
· After reading Florian’s poems, children will be inspired to write and illustrate their own poems. The beauty is Florian doesn’t ascribe to any one type of poetry. He gives examples of rhyming, concrete, and free-verse.
· An author study of Douglas Florian’s work would be a great way to expand the learner’s knowledge of poetry.