Prelutsky, Jack (2009). The Swamps of Sleethe: Poems from Beyond the Solar System. J. Pickering. New York: Alfred A. Knopf (an imprint of Random House Children’s Books).
Literary Genre: Poetry (Picture Book)
This space themed collection of poetry will take you on a journey to undiscovered planets beyond our solar system. While the poems exhibit Jack Prelutsky’s humorous flair, the warning nature of poems are a little darker in tone than his other works to suit the maturity level of older students. The colorful illustrations were created using mixed media, which appeals to older children and adds another dimension to the space themed poems. Prelutsky invites readers to interact with the poetry with a fun bonus feature; many of the planets’ names are anagrams that need to be translated into a descriptive English word.
I really enjoyed the quirky illustrations and the somewhat spooky verses about the wild creatures and vegetation that lurk on these undiscovered planets. The Swamps of Sleethe captured my attention because it is a collection of poetry that could spark school-aged boys’ interest in poetry. It is critical for educators, parents, and others working with children find interesting reading materials (such as this) to motivate boys that are resistant to reading. The descriptive language in the poems lends itself for plenty of uses in the classroom, such as enriching vocabulary, discussing prose, word choice, voice, mini-lessons on developing setting, and much more.