This is the 1995 winner of the Lee Bennett Hopkins award:
Florian, Douglas. 1994. Beast Feast: Poems and Paintings. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace.
Here is a Digital Trailer for BEAST FEAST: POEMS AND PAINTINGS created by graduate student Jessica Roach.
Link to YouTube location of Beast Feast trailer.
Here is a Readers' Guide for BEAST FEAST: POEMS AND PAINTINGS created by graduate student Chia Jung Yeh (Ruby).
Recommended age levels 4-10
1. Summary of book
This is a brilliant, amusing, imaginative collection which has twenty-one original animal poems and paintings. The unique features of each creature were depicted in each poem. Each new creature was introduced and represented on two pages, which included one text poem, as well as one painting of the new creature. The creatures from the sea or ocean included the walrus, the barracuda, the lobster, the whale, and the toad. The birds included the pigeon, the kiwi and the rhea. The insects included the firefly, ants, the grasshopper and the caterpillar. Some mammals on the land included a camel, kangaroo, mole, anteater, bat and armadillo, and there was also one reptile, a boa.
2. Review excerpts/awards
* 1995 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award
The School Library Journal issued the following review: “Each brief poem employs an Ogden Nashian twist of language… The book's design is as appealing as the verses themselves, pairing each selection with a full-page, splashy, bordered watercolor”
Publishers Weekly wrote that the book is a cheerful collection of brief, bouncy poems describing an eclectic roundup of animals. Each focusing on a single "beast," the entries range from snappy two-liners ("The rhea rheally isn't strange-- / It's just an ostrich, rhearranged") to relatively longer poems of cleverly rhymed couplets.
3. Questions to ask before reading
Invite the children to discuss the following:
*What do “beast” and “feast” mean for you? Do you know any synonyms that are similar to the two words? Look at the book’s cover and guess about the book’s content.
*Share your experiences with any creatures and what their characteristics are
*How many animals have you seen? Could you share a story about your favorite animal and tell us what characteristics that animal has? Why do you love these animals?
*What is prose or poetry? Have you ever read any poetry about animals? What needs to be included in poetry?
4. Suggestions for reading poems aloud
*In the book, Beast Feast, invite each child in the class to read a poem.
*Invite several volunteers to read one of their favorite poems in the book.
*Divide the class into three small groups, and each group takes turns reading couplets from each page as they go from group to group. One group can point to another child in one of the other groups to read next. Children could also change the order and beat and speed for fun when the teacher points to them to read or invite one leader to make the order or change the beat and speed of the poem.
*Sing the poem using a familiar melody instead of reading it. Each group member could sing two lines of the poem and the next member sings the next two lines, and so on. Then the next group does the same with the next poem or the groups could sing together in harmony.
5. Follow up activities (writing, art, science, etc.)
*Teachers could invite children to draw their favorite creature in the book, as well as talk about the uniqueness of the creature and why they like it.
*Cooperative poem writing
Teachers could invite one or two children to share their favorite creature not mentioned in the book. Let them talk about their favorite animals and the characteristics these animals possess. Later, encourage other children to create one poem together for a favorite animal based on the characteristics they have discussed.
*Science observations and individual writing
Teachers could ask children to bring either pictures or a real pet to the class. Give them time to observe and discuss these animals. Then teachers could let students draw and write a small description of their favorite animal then share their drawings and stories with the class. Children could either work in pairs to create their poems or work alone to create their own poem.
6. Related web sites/blogs
*The author’s own blog is: http://floriancafe.blogspot.com/.
This is where anyone can read the author’s introduction and book lists.
*Rainbows Bridge: http://rainbowsbridge.com/stories.htm.
Look here for various Pet Poems and Stories which are posted by visitors to Rainbows Bridge.
*Joyce Sidman’s web site: http://www.joycesidman.com/
Look here for useful animal poetry information for teachers and young children.
*ETTC (Educational Technology Training Center): http://ettcweb.lr.k12.nj.us/forms/newpoem.htm
Look here for poetry introductions, poetry lesson plan ideas, guidelines and examples of various types of writing poetry.
*Kenn Nesbitt’s Poetry4 kids. com: http://www.poetry4kids.com
Look here for many funny poems and poetry books, games, lessons, discussion forums, journals, rhyming dictionaries, and poetry podcasts for children.
7. Related books (poetry, nonfiction, fiction)
*Same author, but different poetry about animals
Florian, Douglas. 2005. Zoo's Who: Poems and Paintings. Orlando : Harcourt.
Florian, Douglas. 2001. Lizards, Frogs, and Polliwogs. San Diego, CA: Harcourt.
Florian, Douglas. 2002. Insectlopedia: Poems and Paintings. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace.
Florian, Douglas.2004. Mammalabilia. San Diego, Calif.: Harcourt.
Florian, Douglas. 2007. Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars: Space Poems and Paintings. Orlando : Harcourt.
*Different authors’ poetry about animals:
Harrison, Michael & Stuart-Clark, Christopher. 1997. The Oxford Book of Animal Poems. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Foster, John. 2007. My First Oxford Book of Poems. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hughes, Langston. 1997. The Sweet and Sour Animal Book. Oxford: Oxford University Press.