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In the Swim


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About the Author

DOUGLAS FLORIAN paints and writes poetry in New York City, where he lives with his family. His most recent collection, mammalabilia, was named a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year.


Gr 2-6‘Twenty-one lighthearted poems about fish. Florian, whose previous collections about the denizens of land and air have delighted many, dives into the deep with equally felicitous results. In the Swim casts a humorous eye on such familiar creatures as the whale, the oyster, the eel, and the skate. What's unusual here is the sheer, unforced playfulness, the ease and fluidity informing both verse and pictures. Few readers will be able to resist the starfish sporting huge sunglasses who declares, "And though it's true/I have no brain,/I'm still a star‘/I can't complain." The collection also contains some examples of concrete poetry such as the sawfish whose verse zigzags down the page. The poems appear singly on stark, white sheets, each facing its own full-page watercolor illustration done in muted, watery tones. And what zany illustrations they are. A flounder doubles as a dish; sea horses are complete with bridles and saddles. In the Swim will work equally well for story hours, poetry-writing sessions, or one-on-one sharing. Many poetry books for children touch upon marine life. This one, like the rainbow trout on the penultimate page, is definitely "Divine!/Delish!"‘Ellen D. Warwick, Winchester Public Library, MA

"Sheer, unforced playfulness . . . This [book], like the rainbow trout on the penultimate page, is definitely 'Divine!/Delish!'" -School Library Journal

"Sheer, unforced playfulness . . . This Ybook, like the rainbow trout on the penultimate page, is definitely 'Divine!/Delish!'" -School Library Journal

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