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The Swamps of Sleethe    by Jack Prelutsky & Jimmy Pickering order for
Swamps of Sleethe
by Jack Prelutsky
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Reading U.S. Children's Poet Laureate Jack Prelutsky's The Swamps of Sleethe: poems from beyond the solar system will make young readers want to hug the planet close and never leave - that is, until they read the thought-provoking ending that brings it all home.

From the title poem The Swamps of Sleethe to There is a Sound on Ning-Fa-Dee, Prelutsky paints a very dangerous universe in verse, backed up by Jimmy Pickering's imaginative illustrations of varied hostile aliens and their bizarre worlds. Here's one of my favorites, On Fabled Gazook ...

'On fabled Gazook
You'll be showered with praise,
The toast and delight
Of the local gourmets.

The cooks of Gazook
Will reduce you to powder,
And use you to flavor
Their savory chowder.

Kids of all ages (and both sexes) who enjoy 'Frogs and snails and puppy-dogs' tails' will repeatedly recite and revel in The Swamps of Sleethe Adding to the fun, Jack Prelutsky has built in a challenge to Unscramble the Planets' Names (with answers at the back of the book).

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