Cover of How Beastly! by Jane Yolen

How Beastly!

Illustrated by James Marshall
William Collins 1980, Boyds Mills 1994
ISBN# 0-529-05421-3 Collins hardcover
ISBN# 1-56397-086-4 Boyds Mills hardcover

This is a book of nonsense poems, about made up animals. Like the Shirk–a lazy shark. Or the Dinosore whose pounding poundage makes him weak. I wrote many of these on walks by the Connecticut River, telling the poems into my little tape recorder. As I am an incorrigible punster, I had a ball working on these rhymes. Dear Jimmy Marshall–how we shall all miss him–obviously had fun with these, too.

What reviewers have said:

  • ” … appealing wordplay and childlike silliness.” — Booklist
  • “A reissue of a book first published in 1980 by Collins. Marshall’s droll black-and-white drawings give fresh appeal to the poetry collection. A bevy of beasts such as the “Alligate,” the “Bluffalo,” and the “Crocodial” caper through rhymes replete with wordplay and silliness. Sure to tickle the funny bones of young readers.” — Horn Book
  • “Contains some amusing casual verse by this prolific writer–e.g., “The Edgehog” about a creature who “dines on borderlines” and “The Octopie,” about a dessert made out of this marine creature–but here the illustrations outshine the poems. This is hardly surprising since the pictures were made by the late, great James Marshall, revered by all elementary school students as the creator of George and Martha, the Stupids, Miss Nelson and the Cut-Ups. I particularly like his drawing for “The Slummings”–“Once a year/ The Slummings jump/ Paw in paw/ Into the dump”–which shows two beaver-like creatures with rabbit ears leaping from a cliff onto some old trash while singing “Tra La”! — Washington Post