Wicked Wild Poems of the Pine Tree State
from McSea Books • Illustrations by Hannah Rosengren.
Fur, Feather, Fin: All of Us Are Kin
from Beach Lane Books • Illustrations by Stephanie Laberis.
Vulture Verses - Love Poems for the Unloved
from Prospect Park Books • Illustrations by Lauren Gallegos.
Comments from reviewers, teachers, and parents:
(Five stars from Goodreads • Unanimous five stars from Amazon purchasers.)
In Vulture Verses: Love Poems for the Unloved, author and naturalist Diane Lang asks us to reconsider some of nature’s less-than-loved creatures, reminding us that even things that slither or sting are worthy of respect. Written in funny, upbeat rhymes with lively, bright illustrations, Vulture Verses is a book of valentines for traditionally gross or scary animals. Here’s one example: “Skunk although you sometimes stink, you’re sweeter than most people think.” There are additional notes on each page pointing out ways in which each creature has a positive role to play. Best suited for children preschool through third grade, this is a fun, engaging book that adults and kids will enjoy reading aloud. The book is an excellent reminder that the more we understand something, the less frightening it becomes.
– Review in Green Teacher magazine, 2014
“This book is successful in its portrayal of creepy critters as deserving of praise. Gallegos’s playful illustrations transform the hideous creatures such as the vulture, spider, and bat into animals that children would not fear approaching. Preschoolers and early elementary-aged children will adore the colorful pictures and the rhythm of the poems. If the book were to exceed the author’s expectations, children could take the meaning behind these poems and transfer it into their everyday lives, perhaps resulting in bully prevention and a greater respect for hard work over appearances. Parents will be proud at the delight their children will take in this pleasant book.”
— Foreword Reviews
“This is an excellent book, wittily written, educational & entertaining.”
—National Park Service bookstore manager I
“We are so delighted to carry your book! It was first recommended to us by [another National Parks bookstore manager] and her glowing review was spot-on accurate. Teachers love the book, grandparents love the book, and kids love the book. It is always a joy to see someone in the store reading a verse or two out loud -- and then to hear the comments they evoke. I particularly appreciate that you are introducing youngsters to poetry's power to convey down-to-earth, accessible ideas.”
—National Park Service bookstore manager II
"One of the most important things in wildlife education is bringing to light an understanding of the animals that are misunderstood, the animals that are thought of to be creepy-crawly or maybe a little gross. All of these animals still matter in the big scheme of nature, and that's what this book does."
— Sulphur Creek Nature Center
“There are four great things about this book! First, the author writes very CLEVER poems for each animal that the book features. Second, the book is EDUCATIONAL and talks about how each "unloved" animal has a specific role to play in the circle of life. Third, it is full of BEAUTIFUL illustrations that invite the young reader to look at these "misunderstood" animals in a more positive way that sparks their curiosity. Fourth, it inspires the young reader to be CREATIVE on their own by providing a space at the back of the book for him or her to write their own love poem to a commonly disliked or misunderstood animal. It will be a great addition to any children's library.”
“Vulture Verses is a fantastic way to open our hearts to some of those lesser-known, misunderstood, species. Our students have not stopped talking about these critters; they drop facts they learned and turn a critical eye on the "pests" that they have never appreciated before.”
—Elementary school librarian.
“The book is absolutely charming despite the fact that it's about unlovable animals. Diane Lang's poems and Lauren Gallegos’s illustrations fit together so well to create a wonderful object lesson for children: all animals have their important role. The poems are witty and the illustrations draw the children into each new animal and love the unlovable.”
“I bought this book for my 5-year-old twin boys because they love spiders, skunks, snakes and especially bats. They love this book! They keep requesting it at bedtime. I'm going to buy this as a birthday gift for the boys' friends.”
“This is a great read-aloud book for parents, elementary school teachers, grandparents, everyone. Let's get these kids away from their screens and give them a good healthy dose of nature!”
“Vulture Verses is delightful book that will encourage readers to welcome, wonder at and explore nature, even in its less cuddly forms. The illustrations are beautifully balanced between the scientifically accurate and the anthropomorphic, and the verses are lighthearted and charming, but the invitation-- to take another look at creatures that kids (or, perhaps more likely, their adults) might otherwise dismiss as yucky or scary-- is a serious one.
Kids and their parents will enjoy the humor, and teachers will appreciate the chance to reinforce for younger students (as suggested by the Common Core State Standards) the message that non-fiction offers not just facts but a point of view; this is a great example of an author making her pro-critter stance quite clear even as she communicates information that will delight younger kids and inspire older ones to research further. Vulture Verses would make a great gift for young nature lovers-- or those who teach them!”
– Fifth grade teacher
“Vulture Verses is a charming and poetic picture book that introduces children to the unsung heroes of nature. Some of nature's creations are not very lovable to most people; the limited information most have about such creatures allows longstanding prejudices to remain. In this witty and creative book, nature's less than cuddly creatures are sent tokens of appreciation for their little-known attributes. The illustrations are wonderfully whimsical, flowing gently along with the story of each unsung critter or creepy-crawly. Each note of appreciation is written in tantalizing verse, which is both fun and informative. Children are sure to delight in this book and learn a great deal about creatures who may not be so pretty to look at, but who all do important jobs in their natural habitats.”
- Named a Eureka Honor winner by the California Reading Association, 2014.
- An “April Is Poetry Month” choice from Children’s Book Review, April 2013.
- Selected by Diablo magazine for the “Best of the East Bay” issue, July 2013.
- PubWest Design Silver Award for Children's/Young Adult—Illustrated Book; presented to illustrator Lauren Gallegos in June 2013.
Daytime, Nighttime, All Through the Year
from Dawn Publications • Illustrations by Andrea Gabriel
The Long and Short Tail of Colo and Ruff
from Arbordale Publishing • Illustrations by Laurie Allen Klein.